ATP Shanghai, Quarter-Finals Preview: Federer v Benneteau, Berdych v Simon

In the biggest match of the day on Thursday, David Ferrer came from a set down to defeat Andy Murray, 2-6 6-1 6-2.  It was a surprising result with only 22% in the pre-match poll going for Ferrer.  It was a huge match for the Race to London, which gives Ferrer a boost after two first round exits in Kuala Lumpur and Shenzhen.  Murray faces an uphill struggle to qualify now and will need an excellent performance in Paris and rely on others to falter.  I wonder if he will take any more wildcards in the upcoming tournaments…

1. Roger Federer v Julien Benneteau (Shanghai, QF)

Benneteau

After being pushed all the way on Wednesday, Roger Federer enjoyed a comfortable victory over Roberto Bautista Agut, 6-4 6-2 on Thursday.  In his first match in Shanghai, Federer was on the verge of defeat as he saved five match points in defeating a tearful, Leonardo Mayer in a third set tiebreak.  Federer now plays Julien Benneteau in the quarter-finals.  The second half to Benneteau’s season has picked up after a disappointing start to the year.  He reached the semi-finals of Cincy, the final of Kuala Lumpur (BennyTitleWatch goes on…) and now, the quarters in Shanghai.  Benneteau took out the number 10 seed, Grigor Dimitrov in straight sets in the second round.  Benneteau has a reasonably good record against Federer, beating him twice in Rotterdam (6-3 7-5 in 2013) and Paris (3-6 7-6(4) 6-4).  They also played a tremendous match at Wimbledon in 2012 when Benneteau came within two points of winning the match.  The Frenchman is a dangerous player when he’s playing well, which he is right now…

Prediction: Federer d. Benneteau in 3 sets

2. Tomas Berdych v Gilles Simon (Shanghai, QF)

Simon

Tomas Berdych is the highest seed remaining in the decimated bottom half of the Shanghai draw.  After a stuttering summer, Berdych has found his best form again.  He was comprehensively routed by Novak Djokovic in the final of Beijing, but played some great tennis in his first four matches, not losing more than four games in any set with victories over the likes of John Isner, Feliciano Lopez and Martin Klizan.  On Thursday, he defeated Ivo Karlovic in straight sets.  This was a pretty notable win for Tomas as he had lost their last two encounters.  Berdych takes on one of the four unseeded quarter-finalists in Gilles Simon on Friday.  The Frenchman upset Stan Wawrinka in the second round, 5-7 7-5 6-4 and backed that up with a comfortable victory over Malek Jaziri.

In the H2H, Simon leads Berdych 5-3 although it was Berdych who won their most recent match, which took place in Bangkok in 2013.  Berdych won, 6-7(5) 6-2 7-5. Originally I went for Simon to reach the semi-finals.  In reaching the quarters, I think my prediction is at least vindicated! Up against an in-form Berdych, I think Simon’s impressive week will come to an end, albeit in a tight match.

Prediction: Berdych d. Simon in 3 sets

ATP Shanghai Quarter-Final Predictions

Novak Djokovic d. David Ferrer in 2 tight sets

Feliciano Lopez d. Mikhail Youzhny in 2 sets

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