Nadal, Djokovic, Davydenko in Shanghai semis
Rafael Nadal advanced to the semifinals at the Shanghai Masters on Friday, benefiting from yet another retirement when Ivan Ljubicic became the eighth player to quit while playing in the tournament this week.
Nadal and Ljubicic split the first two sets, with the top-seeded Spaniard losing the first. The match ended 3-6, 6-3 when Ljubicic retired with a left hip injury.
Ljubicic, who had six aces in each set, sought treatment after the eighth game of the second set.
"If I'm not worried when I'm a set down, 1-1 and 0-40 on my serve, then I am crazy," said Nadal, who also reached the semifinals in Beijing last week.
In the semifinals, Nadal will face Feliciano Lopez of Spain, who eliminated ninth-seeded Robin Soderling of Sweden 7-6 (4), 6-3.
Second-seeded Novak Djokovic rebounded to beat eighth-seeded Gilles Simon of France 6-3, 2-6, 6-2.
The third set included six service breaks.
"You know, it's crazy," said Djokovic, who blamed the slowness of the court for all the breaks. "It was kind of advantage for the return player today."
When Djokovic was broken for a second time in the fourth game of the set, he smacked his racket on the court and left an imprint. He then won the final four games of the match.
"Most of the time when I smash the racket the things go better from then on," Djokovic said.
Djokovic will next play Nikolay Davydenko of Russia, who defeated 13th-seeded Radek Stepanek of the Czech Republic 6-1, 4-6, 6-1. Djokovic beat Davydenko in last year's Masters Cup final in Shanghai.
Davydenko, who is looking for his third title of the year, dominated in the first and third sets, but lost his serve twice in the second.
"He destroyed me in the second set," Davydenko said. "In the third set, I find my game and play better and better, good concentration, and he start again to do mistakes from the baseline."