The second-seeded Murray needed just 56 minutes to dispose of the first-time Masters semifinalist from Japan in a 6-3, 6-0 victory and will take on David Ferrer in Sunday's final. The third-seeded Spaniard won the opening semifinal, rallying for a 6-7 (5-7), 6-3, 6-3 triumph over countrymate Feliciano Lopez.
Murray is gunning for his fifth title of 2011 and his third in a row. He won in Thailand two weeks ago and last week beat Rafael Nadal for the Tokyo crown. The Scottish native has won his last 13 matches, including a walkover to start this week's event, and hasn't lost since falling to Nadal in the U.S. Open semifinals last month.
A win Sunday would also make Murray the third-ranked player in the world behind Novak Djokovic and Nadal. He would move ahead of Roger Federer, who hasn't been lower than third since June of 2003 -- the month before the Swiss superstar won his first Wimbledon crown for the first of his 16 Grand Slam championships.
Ferrer, who qualified for the season-ending ATP World Finals earlier this week, will try for his third title of the year and the 12th of his career. He won in Auckland and Acapulco earlier this season and lost title matches in Monte Carlo, Barcelona and Bastad.
Lopez had dominated his fellow Spaniard on hard courts entering Saturday's match with a 6-1 record against Ferrer on the surface. Ferrer, as he did in his previous two matches this week, dropped the first set and came roaring back. He broke serve in the third game of the second set and again in the ninth, then won the final three games of the third.
Ferrer is trying for his first career Masters title. He finished as the runner-up to Nadal in the 2010 Rome final and also lost to the 10-time Grand Slam champ in this year's Monte Carlo title match.
Sunday will mark the third meeting of the year between Murray and Ferrer. Murray prevailed in each of the first two -- a four-set win in the Australian Open semifinals and a 6-2, 6-3 thumping last week in the Tokyo semis.
In seven lifetime matchups, Murray owns a 4-3 record against Ferrer. Not surprisingly, Murray has won all four meetings on hard courts and Ferrer is 3-0 on clay.
Murray is 21-9 all-time in finals, including 4-1 this year. In addition to his most recent titles, he also won at the Queen's Club and the Cincinnati Masters with his lone loss in a final coming at the Australian Open.
The 2011 Shanghai champion will earn $620,000.