There were upsets aplenty in Shanghai on Wednesday with the bottom half of the draw looking rather bare in terms of seeds. None of the surprises were particularly surprising; Rafael Nadal lost in straight sets to Feliciano Lopez, but it was revealed yesterday that he has appendicitis. Kei Nishikori lost to Jack Sock, but has won back-to-back titles and will have been knackered. Milos Raonic retired due to illness. Stan Wawrinka lost in a tight three setter with Gilles Simon, but this was hardly surprising based on his recent form. He lost to Tatsuma Ito in straight sets last week. Equally, Grigor Dimitrov’s loss to Julien Benneteau was not completely unexpected.
The one result that nearly produced a surprise came in the final match of the day. Roger Federer saved FIVE match points (two at *4-5 and three in the TB) to defeat Leonardo Mayer, 7-5 3-6 7-6(7). I wasn’t expecting there to be tennis still going on when I got home from work, but I am glad there was! The final set tiebreak was delightfully entertaining. Mayer played some sensational points to gain the upper hand, but then did have some huge opportunities to close this one out. Federer is a lucky dude to still be alive in this Shanghai draw.
1. Andy Murray v David Ferrer (Shanghai, R3)
In terms of the Race to London, the third round match between Andy Murray and David Ferrer will be huge. As Kei Nishikori, Grigor Dimitrov and Milos Raonic all exited the Shanghai Masters on Wednesday, this offers an excellent opportunity for Ferrer and Murray to gain points. Murray has enjoyed some more encouraging results of late; he won his first title of the year in Shenzhen, defeated US Open champion, Marin Cilic en route to the semi-finals in Beijing and now arrives in the third round of Shanghai after two comfortable victories. Murray needed three sets to defeat Jerzy Janowicz in Beijing last week, 6-7(9) 6-4 6-2. Playing for the second time in a week, Murray needed just two sets in Shanghai, winning through, 7-5 6-2.
Ferrer had lost in the first round of his last two tournaments to Viktor Troicki (in Shenzhen) and Marcel Granollers (in Tokyo). Facing Rafael Nadal‘s conqueror in Beijing, Martin Klizan, this looked like a very tricky second round match. And it was. Klizan served for the match, but Ferrer fought back (with some help from Martin) to win, 4-6 7-6(4) 6-4. Murray and Ferrer have played each other on 12 previous occasions, with Murray winning seven of those clashes. Their only match in 2013 was a gruelling final in Miami where Murray saved a match point to prevail, 2-6 6-4 7-6(1). Murray has played a lot of tennis lately and I think that will work in his favour against Ferrer, who still hasn’t quite found his rhythm since the US Open.
Prediction: Murray d. Ferrer in 2 tight sets
ATP Shanghai 3rd Round Predictions
Novak Djokovic d. Mikhail Kukushkin in 2 sets
Roger Federer d. Roberto Bautista Agut in 2 tight sets
Julien Benneteau d. Jack Sock in 2 sets
Tomas Berdych d. Ivo Karlovic in 2 sets (Karlovic has won their last two matches, but Berdych has been brilliant so far in Asia)
Gilles Simon d. Malek Jaziri in 2 sets
Mikhail Youzhny d. Juan Monaco in 3 sets
Feliciano Lopez d. John Isner in 3 tight sets