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Djokovic, Federer set up Shanghai Masters semifinal

Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer set up a rematch of their Wimbledon final with convincing straight-set wins to reach the semifinals of the Shanghai Masters on Friday.  The top-ranked Djokovic defeated David Ferrer 6-4, 6-2 to extend his winning streak in China to 28 matches, while Federer played a nearly flawless second set to beat Julien Benneteau of France 7-6 (4), 6-0.  It will be the 36th meeting in their rivalry, which has been remarkably close over the years, with Federer taking 18 of their matches and Djokovic 17.

The players have split their four matches this year, though Djokovic got the far biggest prize with his second Wimbledon trophy in July.  ‘There is no clear favorite,’ Djokovic said. ‘Every time we play against each other, it’s a thriller.’  The Serb would seem to have a slight advantage given his recent dominance in China, where he hasn’t lost since a semifinal defeat to Federer in Shanghai in 2010.

Since then, he’s captured the China Open three times, and the Shanghai Masters twice. But Djokovic doesn’t believe the court - or his sizeable contingent of Serbian-flag-waving Chinese fans - will give him an edge.

‘Well, it’s not like he didn’t have a lot of success anywhere he went, including China,’ he said. ‘He knows how to play here. He has also big support.’  Djokovic played much better on Friday than he did in the previous round, when he struggled to put away big-hitting Mikhail Kukushkin.
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