Britain's Andy Murray has reached the Shanghai Masters final after a 6-4 6-3 victory over Gilles Simon. The world number two moved a significant step closer to his sixth title of 2016 after defeating his French opponent in impressive fashion.
Murray, 29, was broken in the very first game of the match, but both players failed to hold their serve in the five subsequent games. However, Murray produced an eye-catching backhand to seal the seventh game of the set — and never really looked back.
The Olympic gold medal-winning star won the opening set in 53 minutes and dramatically improved his performance in the second set, establishing a 5-1 lead at one stage. Simon, to his credit, fought to the end and recorded back-to-back game wins — but Murray successfully served for the match at the second time of asking.
The Scot will play world number 19 Bautista Agut in the final in Shanghai, after he upset Novak Djokovic 6-4 6-4. The Serb, who was aiming to reach his 10th final of the season, smashed his racquet and tore his T-shirt during his surprising defeat to the Spaniard.
Djokovic, 29, was also involved in a heated exchange with the umpire Carlos Bernardes after he was handed a time violation. "He was the star of the show," Djokovic said of the umpire, according to the BBC. "That's what he wanted to be today. But there are definitely things that I need to regain from the emotional, mental point of view."
The world number one had never previously lost to Agut and subsequently confessed exhaustion may have influenced his bizarre on-court behaviour. "I had to experience this sooner or later," Djokovic said. "I knew I could not go on playing at the highest level for so many years all the time."