Shanghai Flashback: Novak Djokovic eases past Andu Murray to reach title clash

As always in China, Novak Djokovic was the player to beat in the first six trips to Shanghai, advancing into three semi-finals and three title matches. The Serb was miles above all the rivals in 2015, winning three Major titles and losing six out of 88 encounters. Djokovic destroyed the field in Beijing, dropping 18 games in ten sets and beating Rafael Nadal 6-2, 6-2 in the final to gather a boost ahead of Shanghai. Losing in the semi-final a year ago to Roger Federer, Novak bounced back in 2015 to topple Andy Murray 6-1, 6-3 in 68 minutes to reach the third Shanghai final. It was the 20th triumph for the Serb over the Briton in 29 clashes, dropping nine points on serve and keeping the pressure on the other side of the net. Murray landed 46% of the first serve in, a recipe for disaster since, as he dropped almost 60% of the points behind the initial shot and got broken five times from eight chances offered to Djokovic.

Novak Djokovic lost only four games against Andy Murray in 2015 Shanghai semi-final.

The Briton hit under ten winners and sprayed around 30 unforced errors, unable to match Novak’s 17-7 ratio and losing ground in the shortest and advanced exchanges. In the first game, Andy saved two break points with winners and held with a service winner to bypass an early setback. Djokovic grabbed the second game to get his name on the scoreboard and earned a break at love at 1-1 when Murray hit a double fault. The Serb confirmed the lead with a service winner and opened a 3-1 lead after 15 minutes for a strong start. With nothing working his way, Andy sprayed a forehand error in the fifth game to fall 4-1 behind before Novak increased the advantage with a hold at love. Serving to stay in the set at 1-5, Murray sent a backhand long to suffer a break and propel Djokovic over the top in swift 25 minutes.

Starting all over, Andy forced Novak’s error to grab a break in the second set’s first game before losing the advantage a few minutes later following an incredible volley winner from the Serb. Novak held at love to open a 2-1 gap and grabbed the third straight game when Andy hit a double fault. Murray forced an error from his coeval and a good friend in game seven to reduce the deficit, hoping for more chances on the return. Instead, Djokovic delivered a hold at 15 to move 5-2 up, forcing Murray to serve for staying in the encounter. Andy fended off a match point to bring that eighth game home and reduce the deficit before Novak fired four winners at 5-3 to seal the deal and move over the top with a cracking backhand down the line winner. 

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