Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic were the players to beat at the inaugural Masters 1000 event in Shanghai in October 2009. Two great rivals reached the semi-final, moving two wins away from an expected title clash. Nikolay Davydenko had other plans, though, ousting Novak 4-6, 6-4, 7-6 in three hours and three minutes to advance into the final against the Spaniard.
Davydenko beat Djokovic for the second time in four encounters, winning three points more and defending six out of seven break points while seizing one out of nine break opportunities. Nikolay had the upper hand in the winners and forced errors, and Novak took charge in the unforced mistakes to stay in touch and barely miss a chance to cross the finish line first.
The Serb produced better numbers in the shortest range up to four strokes, and the Russian erased that deficit in the mid-range exchanges while they stayed neck and neck in the most extended ones. Djokovic closed the opening game with a forehand winner and fired a crosscourt one at 1-1 to stay in front.
Novak saved two break points in the fifth game, and they closed games seven and eight with winners to extend the battle. The Serb survived deuces in the ninth game and broke at 15 in the next one when the Russian sprayed a backhand mistake after 56 minutes.
Nikolay held in the second set's second game with a smash winner and faced two break points two games later.
Nikolay Davydenko prevailed over Novak Djokovic in Shanghai 2009.
Novak wasted a massive chance to move a set and a break up, as Nikolay grabbed four straight points to escape and level the score at 2-2.
In the fifth game, Djokovic erased a break point before Davydenko forced his mistake right after the serve at 3-3 to earn a break at 15 and forge the first advantage. The Russian cemented the lead with a hold at 30 and earned two set points on the return at 5-3.
Novak repelled them with brave winners and fired another from a backhand to bring the game home and reduce the deficit to 5-4. Serving for the set in game ten, Nikolay cracked an ace down the T line for a hold at love and momentum ahead of the decider.
Novak brought the fifth game home in style after a mighty forehand crosscourt winner and created a 40-0 lead on the return in the next one. Davydenko stayed calm, defended those and rattled off five straight points for a great escape and momentum.
The seventh game lasted for over ten minutes, and Novak erased two break points to remain on the positive side. Serving at 4-5, the Russian landed a service winner to level the score before the Serb clinched the 11th game after an incredible winner and one of the encounter's best points.
Serving to stay in the match for the second time, Nikolay painted an ace at 5-6 to introduce a deciding tie break. Djokovic kicked it off it with a forced error, and Davydenko moved 2-0 up after another incredible baseline rally.
Serving at 0-3, Novak netted an easy forehand and fell 5-0 down after Nikolay's brilliant backhand crosscourt winner. Returning at 6-1, the Russian fired a forehand crosscourt winner to seal the deal and advance into the title clash against Rafael Nadal.