Djokovic earlier cruised past Tomas Berdych, winning in straight sets.
The Shanghai title match will be the pair’s first meeting since Murray outlasted Djokovic in the final of the US Open and captured his first Grand Slam prize.
In a week where Roger Federer returned to win a match that secured him the milestone of 300 weeks at the top of the rankings, the Swiss champion was also going for the win that would have brought his count of masters titles to 22 and set a new record.
It wasn’t to be, as Federer’s serve, one of the cornerstones of his game, was not on form, with the Swiss serving up five double faults in the first set, including a surprising three-in-a-row, leading to Murray’s second break of the Swiss’s serve. When Federer couldn’t break back as he had previously, Murray managed to hold his serve and went on to take the first set 6-4.
Besides being gifted points on the Federer serve, Murray played an aggressive return game, hitting a string of return winners during the match. The combination proved too much for the Swiss to regain the edge.
There was some superb play on display, especially in the second set. In a crucial game, Federer held serve by saving seven break points, the last finished in a rally with some unbelievable shot-making, highlighting Federer’s finesse and talent, and Murray’s ability to chase down balls and mix it up sending something back.
Exhilarating moments for the capacity crowd who enthusiastically supported the Swiss.
Murray broke to take a 3-2 lead in the second set, which he consolidated. At 5-4, rain forced a delay and closure of the roof. When the pair returned to the court, Murray smoothly served for the match, winning with a final score of 6-4, 6-4.
Murray was more composed than in previous contests at this tournament, keeping his focus and his emotions in check.
He is competing for his third straight Shanghai title. With a first round bye and a walkover in the third round, this is just the third match Murray has played. He raised the level of his game to be able to comfortably beat Federer.
Tomorrow Murray faces Djokovic in the final.
Djokovic overpowered Berdych 6-3, 6-4, and is chasing end-of-season tournament points hoping to regain the No. 1 ranking after losing it to Federer after the Swiss’s Wimbledon win.
Djokovic is after his fifth title of the year, and Murray, his fourth. They are almost evenly split in their previous 15 meetings, with Djokovic winning eight to Murray’s seven. Murray has triumphed in their last two contests.
A disappointment today for Roger Federer, but when the world No. 2 and No. 3 battle it out tomorrow it should prove a good match.