Nadal Destroys Wawrinka for Shanghai Semi-Final Berth

Today Nadal continued his return to form with probably his best win of the year in a 6-2, 6-1 destruction of Stan. I made sure to watch this one because I was expecting a competitive match, but Stan was a disappointment. As soon as Nadal got the first break to take a 4-2 lead he collapsed. He showed very little fight which seems to be a hallmark of Swiss players. They certainly don’t seem to cope well when they are not in control and dominating proceedings.

Both Stan and Federer have tremendous offenses but when players like Djokovic and Nadal make their lives difficult they are not always up for the fight. Stan just basically tanked when he saw that Nadal was back to his relentless best. It was unfortunate for the tournament and the spectators. But credit to Nadal for not giving Stan any hope to get back into the match after he gained the advantage. He seems to be back to his best now.

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Personally, I don’t mind that at all. Tennis needs a change at the top after the Djokerer rivalry has reached a kind of plateau for the time being. I’d still love to see at least one Djokerer meeting during the fall but with Nadal back in the fray it just makes things that much more interesting. Nadal now plays Tsonga who had a hard-fought 7-6(6), 5-7, 6-4 victory over Anderson. Anderson was serving at 6-4 in the first set tie-break but failed to kill and that cost him the match.

So after praising him yesterday for his mental progress he regressed back to his old ways but still a good week for him where he justified his top ten status that he received at the beginning of the week. Nadal leads the head-to-head with Tsonga 8-3 and they haven’t met for more than two years. Tsonga loves the court speed in Shanghai with his offensive game, but I think Nadal will win again. He’s got the momentum now and looks very determined and confident.

  • The Top Half

In the top half of the draw, Tomic was the first guy since the beginning of Beijing who took more than three games in a set off Djokovic, as Djokovic won 7-6(6), 6-1. I watched and Tomic was just rampant in the first set. Djokovic was not quite at his best, but his mental strength got him through the tie-break after which Tomic ran out of gas. Murray then destroyed Berdych 6-1, 6-3 to set up Djokoray 29.0. Djokovic currently leads the head-to-head 19-9 having lost the last meeting in the Montreal final.

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So I guess a little revenge will be on order for Djokovic here. The last time they met in Shanghai was in the 2012 final where Djokovic won a thrilling encounter 5-7, 7-6(11), 6-3 after saving five championship points. It would be nice to see something similar, but I’ll take any victory for Djokovic. Murray has done well this week to stretch his lead in the race over Federer to more than 1000 points so I think he has done his job. Anything else will be more like a bonus for him.

Djokovic in his current form should certainly be the favorite. There is no doubt in my mind that the confidence he has showed since Beijing was because of the US Open final. Before the US Open, I started talking about how important that tournament was for him to win and especially with what he had to deal with in the final that win made him feel invincible. Contrary to burning him out, it energized him and he is still on track for chalking up the greatest tennis season in history.

  • Highlights

  • The Djokovic Mental Strength

The is in your court.

Posted in Masters 1000, Shanghai.

8 Comments

  1. Very disappointed with Stan, hope Nadal gets some false confidence from this. It will be more demoralising when Djokovic destroys in in the final once again ;-)
    Watched the Tomic v Djokovic match. Great tiebreaker, some pulsating rallies but Tomic’s backhand just wasn’t clutch enough to finish off points. Stopped watching after that, no surprises in the final set scoreline.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Haha well, I don’t think it’s false confidence Conal. I think this week has already boosted his confidence even if he loses to Tsonga. Certainly I don’t think losing to Djokovic again is going to hurt his confidence an awful lot. He is not expected to win anyway. But definitely he’d want to get past Tsonga with the tennis he has played.

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  2. Rafa is back with vengeance just hungrier than ever. It is difficult for anybody to contain him. Wawrinka realised that any resistance today is futile. I am not sure that Tsonga can put significant fight although I don’t think that anybody ever destroyed Rafa as Tsonga in AO2008 did. Djokovic and Murray will be good match. Both are looking great. Today I have seen that Tomic beating Ferrer and Gasquet wasn’t fluke but true reflection of his quality. At the moment, he is a top 10 player. In the first set I believe that Djokovic was shocked by the level of resistance he faced. For Tomic it was heartbreaking to outplay Djokovic (or, at least, be equal) for a set and then get out with nothing in the bag.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Yes, Tomic today certainly played like a top ten player. He clearly played much better than Stan. I’m sure he will be top 10 at some point. That is just the difference between Djokovic and the rest, though. Even though he wasn’t at his best in the first set he still defeated Tomic who was in the zone. And that was as long as Tomic could hang with him. It’s gonna be interesting to see how long Murray can hang with him. Djokovic seems unstoppable like he has all year.

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  3. I thought that Nadal would beat Tsonga, but I was wrong. Tsonga handled spin very well. Djokovic was again incredible. He went a lot to the net using his baseline game to set up points, which is a new moment for me. It was largely successful, which is a great success when it comes against a player who can really pass. I have no enough superlatives for Djokovic. It seems that he is not content with his current level of play, but aspires to further develop. He wants to improve and that is a scary prospect.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Right, George. Great stuff my Tsonga who loves these conditions and even greater stuff by the Djoker whose net game was very good today. Highest level of tennis I’ve ever seen.

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  4. Hi Ru-an, my personal opinion is that it’s still a little early to be singing Nadal’s praises. He even bagelled Tsonga today but still lost the match and played tentatively at the end of the final set. And Djokoking blitzed an in-form Murray today, so Nadal would have been destroyed once again even if he had somehow reached the final. I agree that he’s improving, but he’s not back to his “best” – still faltering against Top 20 players in more important tournaments.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Maybe, Krish. But let’s face it even at his best he could have lost to this Tsonga. The conditions favor Tsonga and he was playing amazing tennis in the first and third sets. Nadal may not be back to his best yet but even if he is it doesn’t mean he can’t lose to anyone but Djokovic. Tsonga has beaten him before on several occasions.

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