SHANGHAI: Roger Federer beat Gilles Simon of France 7-6 (6), 7-6 (2) to win the Shanghai Masters and claim the 81st victory of his career on Sunday.
The 17-time Grand Slam winner, who will move up to world number two in the rankings, next week claimed his second straight Masters title after also winning in Cincinnati in August.
On Saturday, Federer blew away Novak Djokovic in a fearsome performance to end the Serb’s incredible winning streak in China and set up a final with Simon.
A brilliant attacking display from the 17-time Grand Slam winner, who served with aggression and spent much of his time at the net, unsettled the world number one for a 6-4, 6-4 win.
As well as raising expectations of 33-year-old Federer’s 81st career title, the resounding victory will also restore him as world number two, displacing his great rival Rafael Nadal.
“It was a great match,” said the Swiss. “I think I played very well. There was nothing in the game today that wasn’t working.”
Djokovic, who was the two-time defending champion in Shanghai and clinched his fifth China Open title last week, was gunning for his 29th consecutive win on Chinese soil in his first match with Federer since this year’s epic Wimbledon final.
Both players were looking to unnerve each other early on, with Djokovic attempting riskier groundstrokes to counter Federer confronting him at the net.
Every point was greeted with exuberant cheers in Shanghai’s packed Qizhong Tennis Center, and the stadium erupted when Federer broke serve on his second break point in the fifth game.
Djokovic saved the first break point by finding a way past Federer—who was again at the net—but gave away his serve with a weak backhand slice moments later.
Federer improved to 19-17 against Djokovic with the result, and will overtake Nadal, who is suffering appendix problems, to claim second place in the rankings next week.