SHANGHAI: Novak Djokovic reached the semifinals of the season-ending Masters Cup on Tuesday by beating Nikolay Davydenko of Russia 7-6(3), 0-6, 7-5.
The win by Djokovic, now 2-0 in the Gold Group, also eliminated Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France, who earlier lost to Juan Martin del Potro of Argentina 7-6(4), 7-6(5).
Davydenko (1-1) looked in supreme form early on. He broke Djokovic in the opening game and yielded only four points in his first four service games, leaving the third-ranked Serb increasingly frustrated and looking toward his supporters for answers.
Then Davydenko self-destructed. Serving for the first set at 5-4, the Russian double-faulted at 30-30 and sent a forehand wide to level the match.
In the tie-breaker, Davydenko handed the first four points to Djokovic with three forehand errors and a double-fault. Djokovic hit back-to-back aces to give himself a set point, and Davydenko double-faulted again.
Then it was Djokovic’s turn to fall apart, winning only nine points in the second set. It was the first time that Djokovic lost a set 6-0 since the Estoril Open final in April 2007, when he rallied to beat Richard Gasquet.
The third set was on serve until Davydenko faltered again. Serving at 5-5, 40-30, he grimaced after hitting a sharply angled backhand volley wide, then sent a pair of forehands long for the break. Djokovic then held to finish the match.
Mahesh Bhupathi and Mark Knowles put up a spirited fight but lost their second round-robin match to top seeds Mike and Bob Bryan.
The third-seeded Indo-Bahamian pair went down 5-7, 6-3, 4-10 to their American opponents in the Red Group clash.
The results: Gold Group: Singles: Juan Martin del Porto bt Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 7-6(4), 7-6(5); Novak Djokovic bt Nikolay Davydenko 7-6(3), 0-6, 7-5.
Doubles: Red Group: Mike Bryan & Bob Bryan bt Mahesh Bhupathi & Mark Knowles 7-5, 3-6, 10-4; Pablo Cuevas & Luis Horna bt Jeff Coetzee & Wesley Moodie 6-2, 6-7(2), 11-9.