By Erik Gudris/ Saturday, October 12, 2013
Juan Martin Del Potro played near perfect to defeat Rafael Nadal at the Shanghai Rolex Masters. Del Potro's win puts him into Sunday's finals and qualifies him for the ATP Tour Finals in London.
Photo Credit: AP
Before Saturday's semifinal meeting against Rafael Nadal at the Shanghai Rolex Masters, Juan Martin Del Potro said he would have to play a perfect match to beat the world No. 1. The Argentine nearly did just that as he started and finished strong to secure his place in Sunday's finals.
Del Potro broke Nadal to open the match and on the strength of several blistering winners found himself quickly up 3-0. A stunned Nadal managed to get his first game midway throughway the first set.
But Nadal was unable to take advantage of his two break point chances. He could only watch as Del Potro, with his fourth ace, secured the set 6-2.
The 2009 US Open champion again showed off some of the vintage shotmaking that he used four years ago to defeat Nadal en route to his first major title. Fighting off early break points against his serve once again, Del Potro kept up his relentless pressure on Nadal's own service games.
With another forehand winner, Del Potro held break point and then won a scrambling exchange to go up 2-1.
Nadal would again hold a break point later when down 1-4. But as before, Del Potro saved it and then struck another thundering forehand winner to hold for 4-2. Nadal would hold six break points in all during the match but was unable to convert on any of them.
As Del Potro served for the match up 5-4, a visibly frustrated Nadal was unable to mount a last minute comeback as errors instead of winners flew off of his racquet. A final big serve for Del Potro sealed the convincing 6-2, 6-4 victory that sent the Argentine into his second ATP Masters 1000 final of the season.
Del Potro served a healthy 80% first serves during the match and hit 28 winners on the day.
The impressive performance also secured Del Potro's qualification into the ATP World Tour Finals next month in London making him the fifth player to do so.
Djokovic Outlasts Tsonga, Remains Unbeated in China
In the first semi,defending champion Novak Djokovic tangled with a rejuvenated Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France. But it was Djokovic who held all the answers early on as he cruised to a 6-2 opening set.
It looked like yet another routine win for Djokovic after he secured an early break of serve in the second set. But serving up 4-2, Djokovic lost his temper and yelled at the umpire over two disputed calls. Later in the game, Tsonga challenged two calls that went against him that Hawk-Eye review later showed to both be in. When the umpire awarded both points to Tsonga, Djokovic argued with the umpire saying that the points shoudl have been replayed.
That outburst helped Tsonga break back for 3-4. But Tsonga, serving to force a tiebreak later on, couldn't maintain his momentum as errors from the Frenchman's racquet set up match points for Djokovic. A final forehand winner from Djokovic secured the 6-2, 7-5 win.
Despite the loss, Tsonga's run to the semis helped boost his chances of qualifying for the ATP Finals in London. Tsonga currently stands at ninth place in the points race.
Djokovic is now 19-0 in China since last year's Beijing event. Meanwhile, Del Potro is on his own winning streak having picked up the Tokyo title last week. Del Potro will be seeking his first ever ATP Masters 1000 title, while Djokovic aims for his second of the season having won earlier in Monte Carlo.
Djokovic leads the overall head to head versus Del Potro 9-3.