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June 26, 2017

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Four top seeds reach semis of Shanghai Masters

SHANGHAI--For the first time in the four-year existence of the Shanghai Masters, the top four seeds have reached the semifinals.

Top-seeded Roger Federer, No. 2 Novak Djokovic, No. 3 Andy Murray, and No. 4 Tomas Berdych succeeded in meeting the expectations of their seedings on Friday.

The top four men's seeds have also reached the semifinals at four other tournaments this year: Australian Open; Doha, Qatar; Estoril, Portugal; and Umag, Croatia.

Federer turned out Marin Cilic of Croatia 6-3, 6-4 to set a semifinal date with Murray, the two-time defending Shanghai champion.

Murray won their last match in the London Olympics final to lead their matchups 9-8. Murray also beat Federer in the 2010 Shanghai final.

Murray improved his Shanghai record to 11-0 by overcoming a tenacious Radek Stepanek 4-6, 6-2, 6-3.

Djokovic advanced to the semifinals by pasting unseeded Tommy Haas of Germany 6-3, 6-3. He'll face Berdych, who outlasted Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-3, 7-6 (4) in the first match of the day. Berdych has beaten Djokovic only once in 10 matches.

Federer was merely solid, managing to save five of seven break point opportunities he offered to Cilic. He was broken in the fourth game of the first set and when serving for the match at 5-3 in the second.

Haas was the first player this week to break Djokovic's serve with both breaks coming in the second set. The first break was in the second game and the other one came when Djokovic was serving for the match at 5-2.

Stepanek dominated the first set and never offered Murray an opportunity to break serve. The Czech posted 10 winners to only three for Murray.

Murray rebounded in the second set, breaking serve to go ahead 4-2. Stepanek had two opportunities to retrieve the service break on Murray's serve in the seventh game, but Murray held on to his lead.

In the third set, the 41st-ranked Stepanek had a point on serve for a 3-1 lead. But Murray broke back. He won 20 of the last 25 points in the match.

Tsonga's two wobbles — a shaky service game that he lost at love in the eighth game of the first set and double-faulting at 4-4 in the second-set tiebreaker — turned the match in Berdych's favor.

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