Shanghai - Defending champion Novak Djokovic has swept aside Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-2, 7-5 on Saturday as a mouthwatering Shanghai Masters title showdown loomed against world number one Rafael Nadal.
Tsonga had not dropped a set all week but made the worst possible start in windy conditions at the Qizhong Tennis Center as Djokovic threatened to run away with the semi-final.
The Serbian top seed, 26, broke to love in the second game, helped by two double faults, and had a break point to establish a 4-0 lead as Tsonga struggled for consistency on his first serve.
Seventh seed Tsonga dug deep, securing a break of his own to peg Djokovic back to 3-2 but his form then dipped again and he lost the next three games.
The second set was more balanced. Djokovic broke first but Tsonga, with a miserable record of eight consecutive defeats against the Serb going into the match, hit back.
The set looked to be heading towards a tie-break but the top seed secured a break in the 12th game, sealing the match on his second match point.
The Frenchman, 28, who has admitted this week he is not quite 100 percent fit after knee problems forced him to miss the US Open, won just 13 of 31 points at the net.
Nadal, who re-claimed the top ranking this week, is playing Argentine sixth seed Juan Martin del Potro in the late evening match.
The Spaniard has enjoyed one of the best seasons of his career, winning 10 titles including the French Open and the US Open, and is seeking a record sixth Masters title in a single season.
Nadal and Djokovic are among three players who have already secured their places at next month's elite World Tour Finals, featuring the season's top eight players. Tsonga and Del Potro are among those hoping to secure one of the remaining five places.
Results on the seventh day of the Shanghai Masters on Saturday (x denotes seeding):
Novak Djokovic (SRB x1) bt Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA x7) 6-2, 7-5