Nalbandian, Federer, Davydenko in semis

Argentina's David Nalbandian has joined top-ranked Roger Federer in the Shanghai Masters Cup semi-finals.

updated: February 25, 2007 10:53 IST
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Argentina's David Nalbandian has joined top-ranked Roger Federer in the Shanghai Masters Cup semi-finals, each taking opposing approaches to their last round-robin matches on Thursday. Nalbandian breezed to a 6-2, 6-2 victory over Croatia's Ivan Ljubicic in 67 minutes. Federer, the other semi-finalist, extended his winning sequence to 34 matches with a stop-start 6-0, 1-6, 6-2 defeat of fourth-seeded Guillermo Coria. Afterwards, Federer was happy with his win, but also showed his delight at Switzerland's qualification for next summer's soccer World Cup finals after victory in a controversial play-off against Turkey. The 24-year-old Swiss star finished atop the Red Group and now faces either Gaston Gaudio or Fernando Gonzalez in Saturday's semi-final. Thursday's other match saw Argentina's David Nalbandian take on Ivan Ljubicic of Croatia. Smooth finish Nalbandian, who was drafted in to play after the withdrawal of Andy Roddick, needed a win to take him into the last four. In the event he dominated the match, rolling to a 5-0 first-set lead against the form player of the past six weeks. With Ljubicic's momentum quickly evaporating, it was a matter of only three more games before the Argentine took the opener 6-2. Ljubicic didn't help his own cause with 10 unforced errors. Nalbandian consolidated in the second set as he sensed victory. A break for 2-1 once again put the South American in command, with Ljubicic facing a near-total collapse of confidence. Nalbandian broke to love for 4-1, finishing off the victory on the first of three match points in the final game from Ljubicic's 22nd unforced error. In the last four Nalbandian will come up against Nikolay Davydenko of Russia. (AP)