Nadal and Fed­erer on col­li­sion course in Shang­hai

Oman Daily Observer - - FRONT PAGE -

SHANG­HAI: Rafael Nadal and Roger Fed­erer breezed into the quar­ter­fi­nals of the Shang­hai Mas­ters on Thurs­day and Juan Mar­tin del Potro de­feated rac­quet-smash­ing Alexan­der Zverev.

World num­ber one Nadal blew away Fabio Fognini in 63 min­utes and plays sixth seed Grigor Dim­itrov as he pur­sues one of the few tour­na­ments to have eluded him. Time­less ri­val Fed­erer was even faster, dis­miss­ing Ukrainian qual­i­fier Alexandr Dol­go­polov 6-4, 6-2 in 61 min­utes.

The 31-year-old Spa­niard Nadal, fresh off the back of tri­umphs at the US Open and China Open, an­tic­i­pates a tough en­counter against the Bul­gar­ian Dim­itrov. “I played a very good match, I don’t know how many mis­takes I made, but very few,” said the 16-time Grand Slam win­ner and top seed in Shang­hai. “I have a tough match against Grigor and know I will have to play my best... but I am play­ing well.”

Nadal, en­joy­ing a late-ca­reer flour­ish, de­feated good friend Dim­itrov on his way to win­ning the China Open on Sun­day, his sixth ti­tle of the sea­son. And he un­der­lined his sta­tus as the man to beat in Shang­hai as he bat­tered the Ital­ian Fognini 6-3, 6-1.

Dim­itrov, chas­ing a spot at the sea­son-end­ing ATP Fi­nals in Lon­don, beat Amer­i­can Sam Quer­rey 6-3, 7-6 (7/3) to set up a Chi­nese re­u­nion with Nadal. Fed­erer, the Swiss world num­ber two, plays ei­ther of the French­men Gilles Si­mon or Richard Gas­quet in the last eight on Fri­day.

A mouth­wa­ter­ing Nadal-Fed­erer fi­nal on Sun­day awaits if the cel­e­brated pair con­tinue at the cur­rent rate. ZVEREV OBLITERATES

RAC­QUET Gutsy Del Potro re­cov­ered from a set down to win 3-6, 7-6 (7/5), 6-4 against ris­ing star Zverev and will next play Vik­tor Troicki or John Is­ner.

The tal­ented 20-year-old Zverev was go­ing after his sixth ti­tle of a break­through sea­son and was com­fort­able in the first set against Ar­gen­tine Del Potro, the 2009 US Open cham­pion and 16th seed.

The Ger­man prodigy and the 29-year-old, whose ca­reer has been be­set by in­jury, went toe to toe in the sec­ond set and the tie break was just as tight un­til Del Potro grabbed the cru­cial mini-break. And then came the turn­ing point — and a flash of anger from third seed Zverev — as he yielded the cru­cial ser­vice break to go 3-2 down in the third set.

“Right now I’m very pissed off, as you can prob­a­bly tell,” said Zverev af­ter­wards, hav­ing smashed the rac­quet on the court, then trod­den on it, and bru­talised it fur­ther as he stomped back to his chair.

A fan at least came away with a de­mol­ished rac­quet for a sou­venir after the young Ger­man handed it to a spec­ta­tor. “I don’t un­der­stand how I can lose a match where I get bro­ken one time in three sets and not man­aged to get any chances on his serve,” said Zverev, who is tipped to one day make world num­ber one.

“I’m a bit pissed off be­cause I feel like I played well and that’s the up­set­ting part of it — I could have done great in this tour­na­ment.”

Del Potro, pushed to the brink of re­tire­ment by four wrist surg­eries that saw his rank­ing slip as low as 1,045 at one point in his ca­reer, said Zverev would learn. “I saw his frus­tra­tion, for sure... But I think he’s still very young and he needs to keep learn­ing, as he’s do­ing now,” said the Ar­gen­tine, 23 in the world. “He has ev­ery­thing to be in the top po­si­tions in the fu­ture, but these things hap­pen.

“Re­mem­ber when Roger (Fed­erer) was young — He broke rac­quets too.”

Also through are fourth seed Marin Cilic and Spain’s Al­bert RamosVi­no­las, they go head to head in the last eight. ATP SHANG­HAI MAS­TERS RE­SULTS Third round: Roger Fed­erer (SUI x2) bt Alexandr Dol­go­polov (UKR) 6-4, 6-2; Rafael Nadal (ESP x1) bt Fabio Fognini (ITA) 6-3, 6-1; Marin Cilic (CRO x4) bt Steve John­son (USA) 7-6 (7/1), 6-4; Grigor Dim­itrov (BUL x6) bt Sam Quer­rey (USA x10) 6-3, 7-6 (7/3); Al­bert RamosVi­no­las (ESP) bt Jan-Len­nard Struff (GER) 7-6 (7/4), 6-4; Juan Mar­tin del Potro (ARG x16) bt Alexan­der Zverev (GER x3) 3-6, 7-6 (7/5), 6-4

— AFP

Rafael Nadal of Spain hits a re­turn dur­ing his third round match against Fabio Fognini of Italy at the Shang­hai Mas­ters in Shang­hai, China.

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