Shanghai: World number one Novak Djokovic and 17-times Grand Slam winner Roger Federer will battle for a place in the Shanghai Masters final after they powered through their quarter-final matches Friday.
Gilles Simon of France and Spaniard Feliciano Lopez will also meet in Saturday`s semi-finals as the tournament reaches its dramatic climax.
Federer won his evening match against Julien Benneteau of France, taking the first set at the tie-break, before demolishing his opponent in the second to finish with a 7-6 (7/4), 6-0 scoreline.
The third seed in Shanghai last faced Djokovic in the Wimbledon final, a game he lost 6-7(7/9), 6-4, 7-6(7/4), 5-7, 6-4.
The Swiss player is marginally ahead in their previous meetings, winning 18 times, compared to 17 for seven-times Grand Slam winner Djokovic
"I think every time we play against each other, it`s a thriller," Shanghai top seed Djokovic said, ahead of the mouthwatering semi-final.
"It`s really a big challenge for both of us. We need to take the best out of us. We need to bring our `A game` in order to win."
Federer has been in stunning form this season, and is set to overtake world number two Rafael Nadal in the rankings on the back of his run in Shanghai.
Djokovic marched into the semi-finals by overcoming David Ferrer 6-4, 6-2 as he vies for his third successive title.
The Serb broke his Spanish opponent`s serve in the first game, but was given a scare as he was serving to take the first set with the scores at 5-4 in his favour.
Ferrer, who dumped out Britain`s Andy Murray in the quarters, saved three set-points against the reigning champion in Shanghai before earning two break points.
But Djokovic snuffed out the challenge and finally closed the marathon 12 minute game at the net, pumping his fists with relief as the crowd roared.
He was more dominant in the second set, breaking fifth seed Ferrer again at his first attempt before gaining a 5-2 lead with his next break and closing out the match in one hour 24 minutes.
Meanwhile, Simon continued his great run in Shanghai, overwhelming Tomas Berdych in a scintillating final set to claim his second top-10 scalp in three days.
The world number 29 won 7-6 (7/4), 4-6, 6-0 to enter his second successive semi-final, after also making the last four in Tokyo last week where he lost to Milos Raonic.
Simon, 29, is yet to win a Masters title but he is in a rich vein of form and overpowered Australian Open champion Stan Wawrinka on Wednesday in Shanghai.
Berdych, meanwhile, reached last week`s China Open final and he arrived at the Shanghai quarter-finals without even facing a break point.
But the tournament`s sixth seed, ranked seventh in the world, was given a rude awakening when Simon broke his serve in the first game.
Berdych broke back in the third game to draw level, but Simon clinched the set at the tie-break with a powerful cross-court groundstroke.
Berdych drew boos when he appeared to berate a ball-girl for being slow to bring his towel with the scores level at 4-4 in the second set. But he then seized the break and closed the following game, and the set, with an ace.
However, he went missing in the decider as Simon took it effortlessly 6-0.
"I feel my tennis is coming back from the last, I would say, two months," Simon said after his victory.
"I`m finding a better rhythm. I feel also physically stronger. I have less injuries. So, I mean, it`s a bit easier to go on the court.
"But still Tomas is a great player. He`s always hard to beat. I think I almost played the perfect match today.
The 29-year-old will fancy his chances against Lopez of Spain in the semi-finals.
The world number 21 beat Mikhail Youzhny of Russia 5-7, 6-4, 6-4 in a thrilling match between two thirty-something players.
Lopez appeared to he heading for defeat a set down and losing 4-2 in the second set, but he came back brilliantly, breaking Youzhny in his final two service games to set up a decider.
The 33-year-old was then forced to endure a horror game as he appeared in control, serving for the match at 5-3 ahead.
His 32-year-old opponent forced two break points before sealing the game at his third attempt in the most unlikely circumstances -- with Lopez double-faulting.
But Lopez quickly regained his composure to win the next game and overcome his 35th-ranked opponent, much to his relief.
"I went very aggressive," Lopez said, explaining his double fault.
"The game after I made the break. I break him back. I was a little bit lucky."
A host of big names are already out, including Nadal and Murray.