Davydenko in last four
Nikolay Davydenko on Friday moved closer to a spot in next month's season-ending showpiece in London with a 6-1, 4-6, 6-1 defeat of Radek Stepanek for a semifinal place at the Shanghai Masters.
The Russian sixth seed, who missed three months of the season with injuries but has still reached a dozen quarterfinals in 2009, leapfrogged Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Chile's Fernando Gonzalez to currently stand a provisional ninth in the race to the World Tour Finals.
Three places remain up for grabs in the eight-man field with a month of the regular ATP season to go.
Davydenko, aged 28, next faces either second seed Novak Djokovic or French eighth seed Gilles Simon, winner last month in Bangkok.
Spain's unseeded Feliciano Lopez continued his winning streak of the season, producing his best showing of 2009 for a place in the final four with an upset of ninth seed Robin Soderling 7-6 (7/4), 6-3.
The Swede, who played the Roland Garros final against Roger Federer, led 4-2 in the opening set before Lopez, 28 and ranked 41st, seized the momentum for the win in 94 minutes with three breaks of serve and 30 unforced errors by Soderling.
Lopez could next face fellow Spaniard Rafael Nadal if the top seed goes past Ivan Ljubicic later.