Ramos-Vinolas Stuns Federer in Shanghai

Well, it seems karma finally caught up with Federer after he made the great escape last year against Mayer in his first match at Shanghai as he lost 6-7(4), 6-2, 3-6 to world #70 Ramos-Vinolas today. It was quite ironic that Ramos-Vinolas is also a left-handed Spaniard. Since Federer won Shanghai last year he loses 955 points this week. Murray has already overtaken Federer in the rankings at the start of the week and he now has a chance to stretch his lead over Federer this week.

By making semis this week in Shanghai, it would go a long way towards ensuring him of the second seed in Melbourne next week. He is already playing one fewer event than Federer in the fall due to Davis Cup and needs to make every tournament count. I watched the third set of the match and I was quite impressed with Ramos-Vinolas. He was quite aggressive from the baseline and didn’t choke when he had the chance to put Federer away.

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And of course, it didn’t hurt that he is left-handed and that his crosscourt forehand goes into Federer relative weakness. He also used the slice serve out wide to Federer’s backhand to good effect and his serve, in general, is not huge but effective. The match stats are confusing because Ramos-Vinolas had a negative winner to unforced error ratio of 22-26 while Federer had a positive one of 45-30. Just goes to show again the importance of winning the important points.

The two slam final losses to Djokovic in the last two slams wouldn’t have helped Federer anyway. Especially with all the chances Federer had. Those slam final runs with nothing to show for it takes a mental and physical toll, and then Federer played Davis Cup as well after the US Open. He looks burned out. But he still has Basel, Paris, and London ahead and this one loss is not the end of the world.

  • The Fedal Dynamic

What is more concerning for Federer is the fact that Nadal looks to be on his way back and how deeply Nadal is embedded into his sub-conscious. Could the mere fact that Nadal played well in Beijing and that he is in Federer’s half of the draw in Shanghai have caused Federer to lose today? Most certainly. I would not underestimate what effect Nadal has on Federer’s sub-conscious. He is like a monster lurking there.

So as usual we won’t have our Fedal match and maybe we will never see them play each other again. Nadal has won the last five matches in the head-to-head and as far as I’m concerned that rivalry is dead anyway. Nadal owns Federer and that’s the end of that. He has even beaten Federer on the few surfaces where Federer was still supposed to have the upper hand in Cincy and the World Tour Finals.

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He also straight-setted him in a slam. The ownage is complete and there is hardly anything left for Federer to salvage. That doesn’t mean I don’t want to see them play. But it seems unlikely because where it was only Nadal who avoided Federer in the past when he was not in top form Federer has now started doing the same thing. So it is likely that if Nadal continues his comeback that we will continue to see Federer slip.

Nadal has been on such a poor run of form that Federer never had to worry about him and it allowed Federer to get back to number two in the world and make two slam finals. But he wasn’t going to be so lucky indefinitely and he needed to make one of those slam finals count. Especially the US Open final where he had a massive advantage with the crowd and 23 break points. But he didn’t capitalize and now that Nadal is coming back it will be harder to make those slam finals.

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We will see what happens with Fedal for the rest of the fall. They could be drawn in the same group in London in which case they will definitely face each other. Nadal is also playing Basel so maybe if he continues to improve Fedal can even face off there. In Paris, it seems more unlikely. This Fedal dynamic will be interesting to monitor as the fall progresses anyway and it adds to the excitement.

  • What is Left for Federer This Season?

Federer has had another great year at his age, but the biggest title he’s won is Cincy. After making two slam finals, I’d think he will want to do one better than that or at least win another Masters. He’d desperately want to win the World Tour Finals again, but I don’t think he can beat Djokovic on those courts. Nadal could beat him too if he continues his good form. And at this point Federer seems burned out.

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Maybe this early loss in Shanghai is a good thing for him so he can take some more time off but winning more titles won’t be easy. You’d think he can win Basel at least if he avoids Nadal but with Djokovic at Paris and London it will be harder. It certainly won’t boost Federer’s confidence if he can’t end the year with anything more than Basel and Murray gets the number two seed in Melbourne next year.

  • Tomorrow in Shanghai

Tomorrow the big boys are back in Shanghai. Nishikori and Kyrgios open on stadium court which promises to be an interesting one. With Federer losing Nishikori can make a deep run or Kyrgios can make a breakthrough run. Then Murray plays his first match back since Davis Cup against Johnson. Certainly he will want to make at least semis to stretch his lead over Federer in the rankings.

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The third match will be the world number one against Klizan and in the last match Nadal will play Karlovic which will be another very interesting one. Nadal will look to build on his form in Beijing, but big-serving Karlovic is a tough opener. And it doesn’t get any easier for him with Raonic/Agut and an on-fire Cilic and Wawrinka lurking up ahead. Just making semis in Shanghai would be huge for him.

Should be another cracking day of tennis!

  • Highlights

  • Match Stats

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The is in your court.

Posted in Masters 1000, Shanghai.

25 Comments

  1. I agree with you. My theory is that realization that 1) Real Nadal is back (some points in recent Beijing final were reminiscent of 2012 AO final) and that 2) This Nadal is most likely to be played in semis, made Federer sick and diminished his enthusiasm for playing this Masters. Having a lefty Spaniard as opponent also didn’t help. I don’t think that Federer minds at all that he lost today.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Right. I don’t think Federer likes flying all the way to play one match and let’s face it Nadal still had a long way to go before making semis but like I said this may be a blessing in disguise so he can get some more rest after a tough season.

    [Reply]

  2. I read this remark on another blog and thought it was interesting..

    “As far as H2H is concerned, if I were allowed to paraphrase Churchill, I’d say that never in the history of sport has a lesser player ‘owned’ a greater player by avoiding him more often when the surface (excuse me, or the cycle time) didn’t suit him. Or when he simply wasn’t good enough to make it to the later rounds of a tournament. H2H = BS”

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Hey, Joe. Source?

    [Reply]

    Joe Reply:

    Hey Ru-an,

    How have you been?

    I just read a couple of articles at Matt’s Blog, XXXXXXXXXX.

    I just found his blog a couple of days ago, and I think maybe he’s actually even posted here before … but maybe I’m thinking of Mat4, who I think is a chess player (which is great btw). It’s just tough having a tired old brain…

    Anyway, Matt posted a couple of articles that bored into the details of the Fedal H2H, and left me thinking that maybe the ‘ownage’ was not so bad. Would be interested to know your thoughts about them…

    Also, hope your studies and everything else are going well!

    Best wishes,
    Joe

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    I thought it was from Matty’s blog that’s why I asked you for a link. Only him can write rabid fanboy garbage like that. We are talking here about a guy who I helped to get traffic to his blog by letting him do a guest post, adding him to my blog roll, and sharing his blog links on my blog.

    Yet when Federer lost the USO final he started insulting me and apparently is now doing the same on his blog. I don’t suggest taking Matty seriously in any way, shape, or form. He is just a frustrated Feddy fanboy who is still fuming after the USO final :))

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    And no, it’s not Mat4 who happens to be a good and sensible poster. Thanks and hope you are well too.

    [Reply]

    Joe Reply:

    Hey Ru-an,

    Now that you mention it, I think I remember. Matt posted an article on your website about Serena, maybe?

    Anyway I thought you two were associates on some level, and I was not aware of any post-USO difficulties between the two of you.

    But if I had known about them I wouldn’t have quoted him on your site. So please accept my sincerest apologies.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    No need to apologize if you didn’t know Joe. But now you do. I was trying to help him out with the best of intentions, but he threw it back in my face.

    [Reply]

    Eric Reply:

    I think that’s a cop out for Federer. Like dogs Rafa has clearly established his alpha position and Roger pees in his pants when Rafa is around. Impossible as it seems there are chiwawas that dominate German shepards in the same way. Size and ability don’t matter nearly as much as both parties believing who is alpha and who is bitch. Sad but true.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Well said, Eric. I’m surprised people still doesn’t get this. But of course, bias is like a virus that clouds the rational mind. I’m still waiting for Joe to provide a link, because if this quote comes from where I think it comes from then it was written by the most rabid Fedtard in the world.

    [Reply]

    Joe Reply:

    Hey guys,

    I had left this page up last night and didn’t refresh before replying about source, so I didn’t see your replies.

    I am definitely not disregarding the numbers here, or the match-up issues that Nadal presents to Roger. They are real, no doubt.

    But I would still like to see some more matches between them.

    And I would also like to express my regret for Roger’s poor result at Shanghai, and the inevitable approach of his retirement. Such beautiful tennis…

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Oh and btw Joe when someone replies to a comment of yours, you get an email. Not sure if your email is real anyway as I emailed you before and didn’t get a reply.

    [Reply]

    Joe Reply:

    Ha, thanks Ru-an,

    My email is real, but I forgot my password, my real name is not Joe, etc.

    I need to get all those ducks in a row; thanks for reminding me.
    :-)

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    No worries. I removed your details from the comment approval list as well so your comments won’t need to be approved anymore. I just did it because I didn’t want that guy’s links to appear on my blog anymore.

    [Reply]

    Joe Reply:

    Thanks I won’t forget!

    [Reply]

  3. Lovely article, Ru-an. It would be fair to say that the burn-out is mental more than physical. Playing DC was mandatory though, lest he wouldn’t be eligible to play the Rio Olympics. So you can’t blame him for that. As I suspected, Fedal didn’t happen this time either. I’m quite convinced we won’t ever see another Fedal match anyway unless of course they’re drawn in the same group at WTF. I agree about the influence Nadal has on Fed. For instance, at AO, Nadal survived a 5-setter in 2nd round, and Fed lost to Seppi in the next round despite having a 10-0 record against him. It has just happened so many times over the years that I definitely think it is not just a coincidence every time. You are the only person as far as I know who has noticed this trend.
    The losses you mentioned in Cincy and WTF were both in 2013, when Fed was undoubtedly suffering from chronic back problems. Not saying he would have beaten him otherwise. At that point already their H2H was loop-sided, but 2013 made it extreme. It was 10-18 at the start of 2013. Fed met Nadal 4 times that year and also 2014 AO. It was almost certain that Nadal would win all those matches given the circumstances. On the other hand, this year we have seen at least 4 instances where Fedal were supposed to meet and Nadal lost before that. So, in short, it’s arguably true that Nadal ‘owns’ him, but you have to give Fed at least a little credit for making it to the latter stages to play Nadal even when he was struggling with fitness/confidence.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Winning is all that matters in the end, Nakul. Federer could have turned the rivalry around at the 2009 AO but he choked, and then it got progressively worse. No one remembers the hows and the whys. They just look at the h2h and see that Nadal owned Federer. ‘Success requires no explanation, failure permits no alibis’ – Napoleon Hill.

    [Reply]

    Nakul Reply:

    Fair enough. :-O who am I to question Napolean’s sayings

    [Reply]

    Nakul Reply:

    Not related to tennis. But what if you succeed by unfair means? Does it still require no explanation?

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    I am opposed to unfair play. But Federer chokes against Nadal. Djokovic does not. And if he does he does something about it. I think we are past this. If you don’t realize by now that Federer chokes against Nadal and that Nadal owns him you are extremely biased and will never see the truth.

    [Reply]

    Nakul Reply:

    Lol. I didn’t ask the question from tennis point of view. Just asked it generally

    [Reply]

    Nakul Reply:

    Would like to know your thoughts on it

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    And I believe I answered that too.

    [Reply]

    Nakul Reply:

    Was expecting a more elaborate one but never mind. Thanks anyway.
    P.S. I agree that Fed chokes and hence owned

    [Reply]

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