British number one Kyle Edmund was beaten in the Shanghai Masters quarter-finals by fourth seed Alexander Zverev.
Germany’s Zverev, the world number five, produced an impressive performance to win 6-4 6-4 in one hour 12 minutes in China.
Zverev took control by breaking Edmund’s serve in the opening game of the match and earned the only other break midway through the second set.
He hit 12 unforced errors, compared with 25 from world number 14 Edmund.
The win sees Zverev become the fifth player to secure his place at the season-ending ATP Finals in London, joining Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Juan Martin del Potro.
Edmund is currently 12th in the race to qualify for the event at the O2 Arena, which sees the year’s best eight players compete for the final ATP title of the year. The Englishman is 1,590 points behind Dominic Thiem in eighth place.
Zverev will play Djokovic in the semi-finals in Shanghai after the Serb beat South Africa’s Kevin Anderson 7-6 (7-1) 6-3.
‘Towel use by some players is ridiculous’
Zverev has criticised the way some players use towels after Spain’s Fernando Verdasco was widely criticised for gesturing at a ball boy to hurry up with a towel during last month’s Shenzhen Open.
British tennis coach Judy Murray suggested a rule change after the footage of world number 28 Verdasco emerged, showing him motioning for the ball boy to get his towel to him more quickly between points.
“There are some players that go for the towel literally after every single point,” said Zverev. “That’s a bit ridiculous, in my perspective.
“You serve an ace or a double fault, or your opponent serves an ace, and the poor ball kid has to keep running for the towel just because it’s a superstition and it’s not a use because you’re sweating too much or something like that.
“I mean, some players literally use it as superstition. That’s not the purpose for it.”