Nadal to face Davydenko in Shanghai final

SHANGHAI: Top seed Rafael Nadal profited from the ninth retirement of this week's Shanghai Masters as he advanced into the finals 6-1, 3-0 after fellow Spaniard Feliciano Lopez retired with a right ankle injury.

Nadal, an injury victim himself twice this season, will play Sunday for his fourth Masters 1000 title of the season, facing Nikolay Davydenko.

The Russian, who was out for nearly three months with a foot and ankle problem until the spring, ended a lengthy confrontation in dramatic fashion, racing through a third-set tiebreak to sweep second-seed Novak Djokovic 4-6, 6-4, 7-6 (7/1).

The match was a replay of last year's final here at the Tennis Masters Cup, which Djokovic won.

"I played a great match but he was too good. But I've had a great two weeks in China," the Serbian said.

Davydenko said he had gone through a battle. "Today was long and heavy -- three hours. It's pretty slow here.

"We had many rallies, just playing baseline, forehand/backhand. That was all for three hours."

Nadal has already qualified for the eight-man ATP World Tour Finals in London from November 22. Davydenko moved into provisional seventh in the chase for one of the last three spots in the field through his fighting victory.

Nadal leads his career series with the Russian, having taken a victory in the pair's last meeting in the April Barcelona semi-finals.

The Spaniard dominated against his compatriot Lopez over 50 minutes, with the outsider holding his first serve to love and then producing little as his physical problems wore him down.

Nadal will be seeking his first title since Rome in May and the sixth of his season, where he stands 61-9.

Lopez, ranked 41st, followed Andy Roddick, Juan Del Potro and six others in failing to finish, a situation which has prompted calls from players for the 11-month ATP season to be shortened.