Lopez, Davydenko reach Shanghai semi-finals

Spain’s Feliciano Lopez upset ninth seed Robin Soderling 7-6 6-3 to reach his first semi-final of the season at the $3.24 million Shanghai Masters on Friday.

The world number 41 needed a tiebreak to win the first set against the big-serving Swede but broke early in the second and never looked back, clinching victory in 94 minutes.

The 28-year-old lefthander, who dropped his racket and raised his head to evening sky after his winning shot, faces a potential meeting with top seed Rafa Nadal in Saturday’s semi-finals.

Sixth seed Nikolay Davydenko earlier survived a mid-match fightback from Czech Radek Stepanek to claim a 6-1 4-6 6-1 victory and set up a last-four date with Novak Djokovic or Gilles Simon.

The Russian, who reached the final of the season-ending Masters Cup here last year, won the first set easily but Stepanek changed his game plan in the second.

Abandoning his serve and volley tactic, Stepanek had more success battling it out from the baseline and evened up the match before putting immediate pressure on the world number eight’s serve at the start of the deciding set.

A limp backhand into the net forfeited the Czech a break point, however, and Davydenko barely gave him another chance as he raced to victory and a last four meeting against second seed.

“He destroyed me in the second set,” Davydenko told reporters. “In the third set I tried to find my game, tried to make no mistakes, play better and better, with good concentration and he started to make mistakes from the baseline again. He didn’t have any chance.”

Stepanek, the world number 16, made 42 unforced errors.

Serbian Djokovic, who takes on Frenchman Simon in the third quarter-final on the central arena, crushed Davydenko in the 2008 Masters Cup final.

“Last time he played me pretty fast,” Davydenko added. “I had no chance. He played very good baseline. Really, I could not do anything. If I still have good control, maybe I have a chance.”

Nadal faces Croatian Ivan Ljubicic in the last quarter-final of the evening.

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