A few hours after Rafael Nadal earned the place in his 46th Masters 1000 final, Roger Federer did the same, ousting Juan Martin del Potro by 3-6 6-3 6-3 for his 17th win in 23 matches against the Argentine. Federer avenged his US Open to Juan Martin and he was forced to come from behind after del Potro won the opener.
Swiss star raised his level in sets 2 and 3, never facing a break point and sailing through his service games to keep the pressure on his rival, and Juan Martin failed to follow that pace, losing serve thrice in the last 2 sets to end on the negative side of the scoreboard.
Thus, Federer booked the place in his 7th final of the season and he will face his old rival Rafael Nadal there, in the 38th chapter of their amazing rivalry. Roger and Rafa played in China twice before, in 2006 and 2007, and Roger won both matches.
Roger served at 72% and he lost just 14 points in 13 service games, even though that one loose game cost him the opening set. In sets 2 and 3 he dropped just 9 points in his games and his return worked well against the rival who couldn't stay on the same level from the first set.
Del Potro lost 40% of the points on his serve in the end, facing 10 break points and getting broken 3 times, missing the opportunity to advance to his 4th Masters 1000 final and the second in Shanghai. It was a high-quality encounter right from the start and we saw 7 easy holds in the first set, with one loose game from both.
Del Potro saved a break point with an ace in game 3 and he held after 5 deuces with another unreturnable serve, after almost 10 minutes. In the 6th game it was Roger's turn to face problems on serve and he made 3 backhand errors to drop serve and fall 4-2 behind.
Juan Martin held at 30 in games 7 and 9 to bring the first set home, closing it with an ace after 37 minutes. They had a similar number of winners and errors and that 1 break point del Potro converted made all the difference.
Roger stepped in in the second set, making a lot of damage with his serve (Delpo returned only 42% of the balls) and losing just 3 points in 5 service games. Juan Martin was nowhere near those numbers and he got broken in game 6 when Roger converted his 5th break point to move 4-2 ahead.
The Argentine saved 2 more break chances in game 8 to force Federer to serve for the set and Roger delivered a quick hold to grab the set by 6-3, winning the last 10 points on serve to take both the set and the momentum before the decider.
The final set was the shortest and nothing changed, Roger was just too strong in his games and he earned 2 breaks to wrap up the win against the opponent who ran out of steam after that solid opening set. Del Potro lost serve in game 3 after some sublime defense from Roger and the match was over when Swiss scored another break in the 9th game to set up the anticipated final with Nadal.
Federer finished the match with 35 winners and 21 unforced errors while del Potro stood on 29-29, which wasn't enough to push him over the top. Also, world number 2 edged his rival in the shortest points and he was a little bit better in mid-range rallies and those that went beyond 9th shot to deserve his win fair and square.