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Page last updated at 14:05 GMT, Saturday, 15 November 2008

Davydenko ends Murray's Cup run

MASTERS CUP final, Shanghai:
Dates: 16 November Starts: 0800 GMT (Sun) Coverage: Live on Sky Sports; live text commentaries on BBC Sport website; every match live on Radio 5 Live sports extra


Andy Murray
Murray was playing in his first-ever Masters Cup in Shanghai

Andy Murray's brilliant season came to an end as Nikolay Davydenko beat him 7-5 6-2 in the Masters Cup semi-finals.

The Briton was visibly tired after Friday's epic victory over Roger Federer and Davydenko made him pay, breaking in game 12 for the first set.

The Russian continued to batter Murray from the baseline and the Scot succumbed as Davydenko secured the double break to wrap up the match.

Davydenko will face Novak Djokovic, who beat Gilles Simon, in Sunday's final.

It brings to and end a stellar season for Murray, who has risen from 11th to fourth in the world rankings, won his first two Masters Series titles, reached a first Grand Slam final at the US Open, and was playing in the season-ending Masters Cup for the first time.

And he had no second thoughts about giving everything to beat Federer on Friday, despite having already qualified for the last four.

Great things have happened - Murray

"I beat probably the best player of all time, I have no regrets about doing that," he said. "To beat him means a similar amount to winning a tournament like this.

"Ideally I would have liked to have beaten him easier and given myself a slightly better chance to prepare for this match. But I don't like losing, so I'm not going to.

"I'm proud that I gave 110%. I think other players might not have taken that option, but I'm happy that I did."

Murray was unbeaten in his three group matches in Shanghai and was on course to scoop the $1.34m prize for going through the week undefeated.

Davydenko was an obstacle too far, however, the Russian's punishing baseline game proving a nightmare as Murray returned to court just 19 hours after his three-hour marathon with Federer.

The Briton looked tired from the outset and Davydenko broke straight away, converting his fourth break point of the opening game with a backhand volley.

I was lucky Murray beat Federer yesterday, but I played very well today and won

Nikolay Davydenko
Murray showed immediately that he was up for the fight, floating a chipped return onto the baseline to force an error on break point in the following game.

Davydenko remained the dominant force, missing two more break points in game three, but Murray had a half-chance when leading 4-3 and 0-30, with Russian on second serve.

A tired return over the baseline left Murray fuming, however, and Davydenko escaped before getting the decisive breakthrough at 5-5.

Murray appeared to have saved a break point with a serve down the middle but Hawkeye proved otherwise, and in the replayed point the Scot suffered with a net cord.

Davydenko served out the set confidently enough with an ace and a backhand winner and took charge of the second set, breaking in games five and seven of the as Murray finally wilted.

"I don't want to try to make excuses. He played much better than me," said Murray.

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"In the circumstances, naturally I was going to be tired. I did the best that I could with what I had. I just felt a little bit tired.

"He's a tough guy to play against if you're not feeling like you can chase every ball down.

"He doesn't miss a whole lot. He takes the ball so early. I thought he played really, really well, and I couldn't get much going because he was making me do a lot of running."

Davydenko said: "I was lucky Murray beat Federer yesterday, but I played very well today and won.

"He wanted to show he was the best player by beating Federer so maybe he was really tired."

In Saturday's first semi-final, Simon took the first set against a below-par Djokovic but the Frenchman faded after being treated for a neck injury early in the second set.

Djokovic himself had the trainer on in the final set, for a calf injury and a long-standing breathing problem, but the Serb held on for a 4-6 6-3 7-5 win in two hours 51 minutes.

"It's a huge success for me to reach the final," said the 21-year-old, who lost all of his matches without winning a set on his Masters Cup debut last year.

"It would be great if I can end up with the title. I didn't have such a great last couple of months of the season."

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see also
Masters Cup day seven photos
15 Nov 08 |  Tennis


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FROM OTHER SPORT SITES
ABC Online Davydenko books Djokovic showdown - 1 hr ago
The Times Andy Murray falls short - 2 hrs ago
Calcutta Telegraph It's Novak vs Nikolay - 2 hrs ago
Eat Sleep Sport Tennis: Murray out in finale - 2 hrs ago
UPI Davydenko beats Murray in Masters Cup semi - 2 hrs ago


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