Nikolay Davydenko whipped top-seeded Rafael Nadal 7-6 (3), 6-3 yesterday to win the Shanghai Masters for his fourth title in four finals this year. The sixth-seeded Russian broke Nadal in the decisive sixth game of the second set to capture his 18th career championship. Davydenko’s flat groundstrokes and sharply angled winners neutralized Nadal’s aggressive game and denied the Spaniard his sixth title of the year and first since the Rome Masters in May. “I think I was a little bit lucky, but mostly I was playing very well today. I did a good job in three weeks in Asia,” said Davydenko, who also won in Kuala Lumpur two weeks ago. The victory earned Davydenko 1000 ATP Ranking points, moving him up one place to No. 7 and a virtual lock to clinch one of the three remaining slots in the season-ending Masters Cup. London hosts the prestigious eight-man event November 22-29. Nadal returned last week after a month off due to a pulled stomach muscle at the U.S. Open. He appeared rusty Sunday, having advanced twice when both his quarterfinal and semifinal opponents retired. Nadal had reached the semifinals at Beijing last week on his return to the tour. The No. 2-ranked Spaniard also was sidelined after the French Open for two months with tendinitis in both knees. “I have my chance in the first set and I’m especially happy with one thing – it’s the first match after my injury comeback against one top player,” Nadal said. “I really felt I really have chances to win. That’s the most positive thing for me, and I fight all the time with a positive attitude, no physical problems. So that’s very good news for me.” Davydenko improved to 3-4 lifetime against Nadal. The Russian also won tournaments in Hamburg and Umag earlier this year.