Davydenko, Djokovic in Masters Cup final

Russia's Nikolay Davydenko shocked in-form Andy Murray to set up a surprise Masters Cup final against world number three Novak Djokovic on Saturday.

updated: November 16, 2008 18:03 IST
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Russia's Nikolay Davydenko shocked in-form Andy Murray to set up a surprise Masters Cup final against world number three Novak Djokovic on Saturday.

Davydenko took advantage of Murray's late finish against Roger Federer on Friday to win 7-5, 6-2, reaching his first final in four straight visits to the year-end showpiece.

He faces a daunting task against Australian Open champion Djokovic, who roared into the title match 4-6, 6-3, 7-5 against Gilles Simon and beat the Russian in the group stage here.

"Finals are special. Every player has more motive to do well and win the title. I haven't won a title for a long time, since Rome, so I would like to end my season in a good way," Djokovic said.

Murray was on court less than 24 hours after his three-hour marathon win over Federer, and it showed as he was broken in the very first game before breaking back.

He saved break points in the third but swiped his racquet angrily as he was broken for 6-5, and Davydenko sealed the set on serve with the help of a net cord.

Murray was further incensed when he bounced a volley off the net and wide to be broken in the second set and the Russian broke again before clinching the first match point with an ace.

Davydenko, the world number five, is in line for the biggest pay day of his career if he wins the 4.45 million dollar tournament, while Djokovic can move within 10 points of Federer's second spot in the rankings.

In the earlier match, Djokovic recovered from a poor first set and weathered a late fight-back by Simon to reach the final.

The Serb's victory ends a fairytale run by Simon, who only qualified for the eight-man event when top-ranked Rafael Nadal pulled out injured but shocked defending champion Federer to reach the semis.

The piano-playing world number nine had been gunning to become the only French end-of-year winner and the first from his country to reach the final since Sebastien Grosjean in 2001.

"This match was so long, so there are so many things to say. But the only thing is he was very aggressive, more than me. He was a little bit lucky sometimes, touching many lines, and finally he won the match," Simon said.

Djokovic has held the third ranking since August last year, winning three tournaments this season including his breakthrough Grand Slam title in Australia.

Murray knocked out Federer in a thrilling three-set match late on Friday, the first occasion the four-time champion has failed to reach the semi-finals in seven straight visits.

The Briton has been in the form of his life, winning back-to-back Masters series titles to reach a career-high fourth ranking and losing only once since the US Open final.

The Tennis Masters Cup, featuring the top eight men's players, is being held here for the last time before shifting to London as the World Tour Final.