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  Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray into Shanghai Masters semi-finals

Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray into Shanghai Masters semi-finals

AGENCIES
Published : Oct 15, 2016, 12:09 am IST
Updated : Oct 15, 2016, 12:09 am IST

Top-ranked Novak Djokovic hummed on the baseline to keep himself calm as he survived an almighty scare against 110th-ranked Mischa Zverev to reach the Shanghai Masters semi-finals on Friday.

Top-ranked Novak Djokovic hummed on the baseline to keep himself calm as he survived an almighty scare against 110th-ranked Mischa Zverev to reach the Shanghai Masters semi-finals on Friday.

The defending champion, who has been struggling with motivation and injuries, lost the first set and was then taken to a second-set tie-break as tensions rose at the Qi Zhong Tennis Centre.

 

But qualifier Zverev’s composure cracked as the 12-time Grand Slam-winner reeled off the first four points of the tie-break and raced through the deciding set to win 3-6, 7-6 (7/4), 6-3.

As Zverev became increasingly dispirited, Djokovic was a picture of calm as he hummed to himself during the deciding set to keep his mind off his mistakes.

Djokovic’s unusual tactic helped him avoid what would have been the most humiliating defeat of his season and maintained his record of reaching the semifinals in all seven visits to the tournament.

He now insists he no longer cares about titles or rankings points and is concentrating only on maintaining an “optimal state of mind”, a process he compared to boiling pasta.

 

“(It’s) like when you’re trying to prepare pasta and then when it’s boiling water, you just switch it down, you know, turn down the heat a little bit,” he said.

Murray marches into semis Andy Murray kept the heat on Djokovic’s world number one spot as he thrashed Belgium’s David Goffin 6-2, 6-2 to enter the semi-finals.

Djokovic’s misfiring serve cost him another two breaks in the second set but he also broke Zverev twice as they went to a tie-break and the German stood on the verge of a famous win.

However, a succession of Zverev errors effectively handed over the set before Djokovic took control against the tiring German and saw out the victory in two hours and 20 minutes.

 

In the semi-finals on Saturday, Djokovic will play Spain’s Roberto Bautista, who floored Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-3, 6-4 to send last year’s runner-up crashing out.

Svetlana survives Beijing: World number eight Svetlana Kuznetsova survived a quarter-final scare against lowly Naomi Osaka of Japan at the Tianjin Open on Friday, scraping through in a deciding set tiebreak.

The Russian second seed lost the first set before recovering, but still needed an hour and 55 minutes against the world number 42 before prevailing 2-6, 6-4, 7-6 (7/3).

Her reward is a semi-final place against American Alison Riske who beat home player Han Xinyun 6-3, 6-3.

Yuki in quarters Houston: On a comeback trail, Yuki Bhambri has progressed to the quarter-finals of the ITF Futures event with a straight set win over American Gonzales Austin, here.

 

The top seeded Indian posted a 6-0, 7-6 (5) win in the second round, which is only his fourth competitive match after returning to action following a six-month injury break.

The Delhi lad, who featured in top-100 around this time last season, next faces fifth seed German Sebastian Fanselow. ‘

Location: China, Shanghai