Tennis: Tsonga downs Nadal to reach Shanghai final

Tennis: Tsonga downs Nadal to reach Shanghai final
PHOTO: Reuters

SHANGHAI - Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga recorded a first win over Rafa Nadal in almost four years after producing some scintillating tennis to beat the Spaniard in the semi-finals of the Shanghai Masters on Saturday.

Tsonga, the 16th seed, triumphed 6-4 0-6 7-5 to set up a final against either world number one Novak Djokovic or Briton Andy Murray, who play in the second semi-final later on Saturday.

The Frenchman fired down 11 aces to record his first win over Nadal since the 2011 ATP World Tour Finals and give a major boost to his flagging hopes of qualifying again for the end of season championships in London.

Nadal, a winner of 14 grand slam singles titles, struggled to cope with Tsonga in the opening set as the Frenchman pressured the Spaniard's serve with some heavy hitting.

He secured the break in the fifth game at the third time of asking but after going on to serve out the set, Tsonga's game crumbled in the second set as Nadal easily levelled without dropping a game to force a decider.

Nadal, looking for a first hard court title in almost two years, was forced to save some early break points but the third set remained on serve until Tsonga struck in the 11th game of an enthralling encounter.

The 30-year-old Frenchman produced an eye-catching dive to force match point, which he converted to reach his first Masters final since he triumphed in Toronto last year.

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