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Inspired Davydenko beats Nadal to win Shanghai Masters

Russia's Nikolay Davydenko clinched his fourth title of the year with a 7-6 6-3 win over Spain's Rafael Nadal in the final of the Shanghai Masters. The Spaniard is still short of his best form after suffering from knee and abdominal injuries.

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AFP - Spain's Rafael Nadal admitted he was beaten by the better man after in form Nikolay Davydenko earned his fourth title of 2009 on Sunday with a 7-6 (7/3), 6-3 victory at the Shanghai Masters.

Playing in only his second event since missing a month with an abdominal muscle strain, Nadal was unable to shrug off the persistent Russian, who took the honours after just over two hours of tennis.

The match was won on a Nadal forehand ruled long -- a call backed up by the electronic linecall.

"He played better than me today," said Nadal, the top seed and world number two.

"But that's tennis. I will certainly be back next year to try and win here."

Four-time Roland Garros champion Nadal has now lost his last two finals, the previous one in Madrid to Roger Federer five months ago.

Conversely, Davydenko has been on a roll since overcoming ankle and foot injuries in the early part of the year which kept him out for nearly three months.

The world number eight, who lost a final here a year ago to Novak Djokovic when Shanghai hosted the season-ending Tennis Masters Cup, finished up a sweep of the tournament top two.

The 28-year-old put out Djokovic in a three-hour semi-final before polishing off Nadal.

The Spaniard was unable to get an early lead in a 75-minute opening set, which Davydenko earned in a tiebreaker.

The Russian consolidated with the lone break of the second set in the sixth game and sent a winner down the line to set up a match point three games later.

Davydenko has claimed all four of his 2009 titles since July and won Kuala Lumpur a fortnight ago.

He now heads to the Kremlin Cup in Moscow, where he faces a daunting first-round match against retiring compatriot Marat Safin.

Winning here means Davydenko remains firmly in the race for one of the last three places in the eight-man ATP World Tour Finals in London next month.
 

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