Ferrer downs Roddick to make final

SHANGHAI: Roger Federer was at his brilliant best as he dominated second-ranked Rafael Nadal 6-4, 6-1 on Saturday to advance to the Masters Cup tennis final.

The top-ranked Swiss star will face No. 6 David Ferrer, who used sparkling defence to down No. 5 Andy Roddick 6-1, 6-3 in the season-ending tournament for the top eight players in the rankings.

Nadal had led 8-5 in head-to-head meetings against Federer and played well early. But defending champion Federer matched him shot for shot, then kicked into high gear while serving at 4-4 in the first set. Nadal pulled ahead 15-30, then Federer ran off 20 of the next 21 points, including 15 in a row in an 11-minute span.

Looking stunned, Nadal managed to win only three points in the first five games of the second set. He finally held at love to break Federer’s streak of seven games.

Serving at 5-1, Federer hit an overhead winner to set up match point, and Nadal netted a backhand to finish it off in 59 minutes.

Ferrer was fresh, confident and sharp from the start, while Roddick seemed to be showing the effects of the short 20-hour turnaround from his loss to Federer the night before.

After Roddick held serve to start the match, Ferrer ran off six games in a row. Ferrerhad plenty to do with that. Nimble and quick at the baseline, his defence was nearly flawless.

He ripped winners from both sides on the run, and punished Roddick when he came in, sending groundstrokes past him or at his feet.

Ferrer broke Roddick for the fourth time to pull ahead 4-2 in the second set, aided by a pair of seemingly impossible crosscourt winners.

Roddick’s last gasp came in the next game when he had triple break point at 0-40, only to see the Spaniard bounce back to hold. Ferrer showed some nerves while serving for the match, double-faulting at 40-30. But Roddick sent a forehand long and a serve return into the net.

Paes-Damm out

Leander Paes and Czech Republic’s Martin Damm went out of the doubles going down in the semifinals to third seeds Simon Aspelin of Sweden and Austria’s Julian Knowle 6-4, 6-4 on Saturday.

The results: Singles: Semifinals: Roger Federer bt Rafael Nadal 6-4, 6-1; David Ferrer bt Andy Roddick 6-1, 6-3. Doubles: Semifinals: Simon Aspelin & Julian Knowle bt Leander Paes & Martin Damm 6-4, 6-4; Mark Knowles & Daniel Nestor bt Paul Hanley & Kevin Ullyet 6-3, 6-7(8), 10-5. — Agencies

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