Nadal crushes Fognini in Shang­hai

Cape Times - - SPORT -

BEI­JING: RAFAEL Nadal con­tin­ued to scythe his way through the Shang­hai Mas­ters yes­ter­day, reach­ing the quar­ter-fi­nals with a 6-3 6-1 thrash­ing of tem­per­a­men­tal Ital­ian Fabio Fognini.

The Spa­niard needed two min­utes over the hour to dis­patch Fognini, tak­ing his win­ning streak to 14 matches since the start of the US Open where he claimed a 16th grand slam ti­tle.

The 31-year-old is clos­ing in on fin­ish­ing the year as world num­ber one for the first time since 2013 but Roger Fed­erer, the only man who can stop him, is look­ing equally im­pres­sive.

Fed­erer de­lighted his small army of Chi­nese fans in­side the Qi Zhong Cen­tre with an em­phatic 6-4 6-2 de­feat of tricky Ukrainian Alexandr Dol­go­polov.

Fognini was play­ing the day after be­ing handed a sus­pended ban from two grand slams and $96 000 fine for ver­bally abus­ing a fe­male um­pire at the US Open.

But there was lit­tle fight from the 30-year-old as Nadal lost only six points on serve in the open­ing set.

While a Nadal-Fed­erer fi­nal looms, Ar­gentina’s Juan Mar­tin del Potro could ruin the script, as he did at the US Open where he de­feated Fed­erer in the quar­ter-fi­nals when a semi­fi­nal be­tween the two greats looked likely.

The for­mer US Open cham­pion stopped third seed Alexan­der Zverev, re­cov­er­ing from los­ing the opener to win 3-6 7-6(5) 6-4.

“I think he played a great match, maybe one of the best of the sea­son,” Zverev said.

Sixth seed Grigor Dim­itrov, who saved match points on Wed­nes­day against Ryan Har­ri­son, had a more com­fort­able day as he beat Amer­i­can 10th seed Sam Quer­rey 6-3 7-6(3).

Bul­gar­ian Dim­itrov, who could claim a de­but ap­pear­ance at the ATP World Tour Fi­nals in Lon­don next month by reach­ing the fi­nal in Shang­hai, plays Nadal next.

Wim­ble­don run­ner-up Marin Cilic also eased into the quar­ter-fi­nals with a 7-6(1) 6-4 de­feat of Amer­i­can Steve John­son.

De­fend­ing cham­pion Caro­line Woz­ni­acki and top seed Elina Svi­tolina, who have both qual­i­fied for the sea­son-end­ing WTA Fi­nals, with­drew from the Hong Kong Open through in­jury yes­ter­day.

Woz­ni­acki pulled out be­fore her match against Lizette Cabr­era with el­bow pain, giv­ing the Aus­tralian teenager a free pas­sage into the quar­ter-fi­nals.

Svi­tolina failed to re­cover from a right leg in­jury to start her match against world num­ber 114 Amer­i­can Nicole Gibbs.

“I did ev­ery­thing I could pos­si­bly to get ready for to­day but un­for­tu­nately I hurt my el­bow dur­ing prac­tice and there was no way I could per­form my best... un­for­tu­nately I have to with­draw from the tour­na­ment,” Woz­ni­acki said.

Woz­ni­acki, who beat Eu­ge­nie Bouchard 6-1 6-1 in the open­ing round on Wed­nes­day, and Svi­tolina have al­ready booked their places in the sea­son-end­ing WTA Fi­nals in Sin­ga­pore which take place from 22-29 Oc­to­ber.

RAFAEL NADAL: Extended 14-match win­ning streak

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