Shanghai Draw – Federer Gets Murray

[1] FEDERER vs BYE
Q vs ZHANG
ISTOMIN vs BERLOCQ
RAMOS vs [13] WAWRINKA

[10] CILIC vs Q
BELLUCCI vs KLIZAN
VERDASCO vs SOEDA
BYE vs [7] MONACO

[3] MURRAY vs BYE
TOMIC vs MAYER
DOLGOPOLOV vs CHARDY
MELZER vs [15] SIMON

[11] GASQUET vs Q
STEPANEK vs HEWITT
NIEMINEN vs ANDERSON
BYE vs [8] ISNER

[5] TSONGA vs BYE
PAIRE vs Q
FOGNINI vs BAGHDATIS
Q vs [12] RAONIC

[14] NISHIKORI vs WU
QUERREY vs LI
Q vs SEPPI
BYE vs [4] BERDYCH

[6] TIPSAREVIC vs BYE
TROICKI vs YOUZHNY
Q vs ROBREDO
HAAS vs [9] ALMAGRO

[16] KOHLSCHREIBER vs HARRISON
LOPEZ vs FALLA
ANDUJAR vs DIMITROV
BYE vs [2] DJOKOVIC

http://www.atpworldtour.com/posting/2012/5014/mds.pdf

Still nice to see Roger as the first seed, but for how much longer? We need to appreciate it while it lasts because he may not hang on to it for much longer. Djokovic just won Beijing which means he is creeping up to that #1 spot. Djokovic lost a set in his first match and then cruised to the title without dropping another set, beating Tsonga in the final. He is looking in good form. In the other ATP 500 Nishikori won his home tournament in Tokyo beating Raonic in the final. We may be looking at the future of tennis right there. Nishikori ended up bageling Raonic in the deciding set which I thought was very impressive.

Remember he bageled Djokovic in Basel last year as well. Nishikori is slowly but surely becoming a very good player. This was the biggest win of his career yet, and the Japanese must be ecstatic. Not sure he can win slams though. He is not a big guy and doesn’t possess a powerful serve. He can probably be a consistent top ten player, but to win slams you need bigger weapons than he possesses. Raonic does of course have a massive weapon in his serve and a pretty big forehand too. He isn’t bad in the mental department either. I can see him winning slams. He beat Murray in the semis in the final set breaker which was very impressive as well.

Now onto Shanghai. The draw is out and Roger has Murray in his half as opposed to Berdych. Given that is Berdych always in the zone against Roger, I feel it’s better that he got Murray. Looks like Roger will get a nice first match to get him back into the swing of things. Then he will probably face his friend Stan in the third round, and in the quarters Cilic or Monaco. So his road to the semis looks pretty easy. In a semi with Murray it’s anyone’s guess what will happen. I’m not really sure what Roger’s main goal is towards the end of the year. He has already won Basel and the WTF so many times.

If he is not going for the year end #1 ranking then what is there left for him to achieve? On the other hand I have already stated that the year end #1 is not very important. I guess he should try to win Basel and Paris and end the year on a high that way, even if it means he won’t end the year ranked #1. I was glad to learn that Roger will not play the exho in Abu Dhabi next year, so he will have some extra time to rest after the exhos in South America. I don’t think he will play Paris and his main goal will be the do well in his favorite indoor season, and end the year as well as he can. He has won six titles this year already and one or two more would really top off another fantastic year.

I would have loved for him to play Paris as well and really try to hold on to that #1 ranking, but I doubt he has enough gas left in the tank. If he can pick up two titles before the end of the year that would be just great. Only one more would be a little disappointing, but it would still have been an amazing year no matter what. The main thing was the Wimbledon title and getting the record amount of weeks at #1. Everything else is just gravy. I feel the same about Shanghai. I don’t really care about the result. Murray and Djokovic are both on a high right now. They won’t be easy to stop. Murray also gave Roger a convincing beat down in the 2010 Shanghai final.

Sounds like the courts are pretty slow there in which case it will be tougher for Roger. It’s also an outdoor event unless the weather does not play along, in which case they close the roof. So anything more than semis will basically be gravy for me as far as Shanghai goes. Where I really want to see Roger do his thing is in Basel and London. If he wins those two events again I will be a happy camper. We need at least something to celebrate after this amazing year, don’t we? We need an encore!

Ps. I’m sure you all heard about the ‘death threat’ towards Roger. Turns out it was just some fool on the Internet who wasn’t serious. It was taken seriously because he gave a date. He has since apologized in the media.

Posted in Uncategorized.

29 Comments

  1. Cheers, Ruan. Good outline of where we are with Rog and how the rest of the year could pan out. Like you, I am hoping for an encore from Roger. I would particularly like to see another Swiss victory over the Scottish Pretender. Wait your turn, Andy – the King is still the king.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    You’re welcome Rich and thanks. Personally I would like to see another win over Djokovic. They had a date for the USO final but Berdych spoiled that.

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  2. Ruan, nice to see you back at your almost normal pace (in terms of blogging). I am very happy that you have settled well in your new environment which is good news for us the FedFans as we can now expect more insights into Fed’s game from you. Skipping Paris for Fed may seem like a wise decision, but intuition tells me that if he has the momentum going into Paris (after good shows in Shanghai and Basel), he may go all throttles to finish as number one at the year end. About Nishikori, I think in the long run, he will end up as someone like David Ferrer who is very very consistent, but still does not have enough weapons to crack the big ones.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Thanks Jiten. Not sure I’m back to my normal blogging pace yet but it’s getting there. I won’t be able to watch as much tennis as I used to because I actually have a proper job now. But I like this blog and I will keep it going. I will finally get a new laptop in two weeks which should improve my blogging and tennis viewing too.

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  3. I just read Roger’s interview @ atp website and he mentioned that his main goal is not year end #1 but staying injury free… All the best Roger!!!

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Interesting Girish. This is a clear indication to me that he will not play Paris and risk injury.

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  4. I imagine Fed`s main goals in the next few months are the WTF and the Australian Open. He knows that even if he goes undefeated for the rest of the year, he`ll likely still lose the number one ranking, and putting his body through that stress isn`t worth it if it will hurt him next year.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Well if he plays Paris and goes undefeated for the year he can end #1 I’m sure. But that is not happening.

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  5. Hi ruan– I liked your measured enthusiasm about Fed’s season. Though, a part of me would like him to win Shanghai, just to flatten the confidence of Djokovic and Murray. Fed looks pretty relaxed in the videos and pics coming out of Shanghai, and if he can keep his energy level up, we might see a good tournament. And I think he will play Paris. He loves indoor tournaments and it’s his time to shine. I was just surprised he showed up in Shanghai, but then how many times can you blow off Asian fans??!!!

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Since Roger showed up in Shanghai I doubt he will play Paris Sakhi. It’s just not like him to put his body at risk chasing after records.

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  6. What a nice bonus, Ruan; yet another post …. and Shanghai hasn’t even started yet! It must be so exciting seeing things slowly unfolding for yourself!! Living alone in some isolated place in SA seems so long ago already, Ruan!! Yes, i would be a happy camper too if Roger could win Basel and finish with an encore at WTF. But i do feel he needs to make a statement in Shanghai by winning it. He just beat the 2 pretenders recently in Wimbledon and Cincy. If he could drive the message further home of who is the real king, he could pick up momentum again which was abruptly halted by Birdshit in USO. The year end no. 1 looks almost certain to be Djoko’s. But if somehow Roger gets it (one can always dream) i would consider this year as one of the best in Roger’s career. As i said in my previous comment, it is difficult to tell which remaining tournaments Roger chooses to play. I think this is one of very few times where we fans are left really really guessing. Many of you have given your guesses what you think Roger would most likely do. I find it really intriguing. Why don’t we get into Roger’s mind, play a guessing game or vote what we think Roger would most likely play, shall we? I’ll start first. I say he skips Paris and plays Basel and WTF.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Thanks Veronica I really appreciate your comment. Yes it’s exciting seeing things unfold for myself. I have made some major changes in my personal life and it has paid off. It’s been tough times at the start but things are settling down nicely now. I appreciate you guys sticking around during the time that I was posting less. I will try hard to make more posts from now on and stay in contact with my Fedfamily. Thanks for being there for me.

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  7. Thanks, Ruan, for your quick and well founded blog. Hard to disagree with your views.
    Personally I think Roger’s loss from Thomas Berdych in the QF’s of the US Open has damped down his spirits a bit and saddled him up again with an old problem: how to play classic tennis against a guy who’s blowing him off the court ?
    Roger’s US Open QF loss has also compromised his chances of being year end no.1 this year, because with the packed summer season this year and the way modern tennis is played these days, I don’t think any of them is going to sweep the rest of the season. The one who would try to do this, will most likely end up running on fumes and risk to join those who already are on the injury list (cfr… Nadal, Del Potro?, etc…) .
    So my assessment is that the rest of the remaining titles will be split, as it was already the case for the slams this year. This implies that Novak probably will leapfrog Roger before the end of the year, albeit not necessarily in a conclusive way (i.e. not necessarily for a long time).
    As for the Shangai draw, I guess the draw could have been better and worse for Roger. Not having drawn Thomas Berdych immediately after his recent loss, is not a bad thing in my opinion. But having drawn Andy Murray in his half of the draw is not an ideal draw either, because Andy Murray not only happens to be Rafa’s buddy but also, with his solid baseline game, an almost equally difficult match-up for Roger.
    However Roger has got some very nice memories from Shangai, having won there several times in the past. And he ‘s also got a large, passionate fan base in Shangai to support him in the absence of his family . Therefore I think he’ll certainly try to reach at least the semis of the event and make a serious effort to continue his run even further, without pushing too hard though to avoid injuries. I hope the many Chinese fans will propel him to the Shangai finals to set up a possible face-off with Novak .

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Thanks Wilfried always nice to see you comment.

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  8. Hi Ru-an, hope you’re doing well.

    For now I think Federer is simply playing it by ear and trying to do well in the tournaments he’s entered.

    But I’m not so pessimistic as you. He might be able to play Shanghai, Basel, Paris, and London in succession and do well in each without too much strain on his body. Indoor courts, where he can really pinpoint his serve and groundstrokes and play shorter points, suit his game very well.

    Djokovic is looking solid, but not in absolutely dominant form–really Tsonga ended up beating himself, as he too often does. Djokovic made a lot of uncharacteristic mistakes in the first set and missed some chances to really break it open but Tsonga never seized any of his opportunities and then completely melted down in the tiebreak. After that the second set was a formality.

    It may not be so easy for Djokovic in Shanghai where the opponents are tougher than the cakewalk draw he crushed on his way to the Beijing final. The quick turnover from Beijing–only a couple days–will prove challenging for him.

    Raonic and Nishikori were both impressive: Raonic in edging Murray, then Nishikori in beating Raonic. I agree that Nishikori doesn’t quite have the firepower to be a top 5 player or win a major, but he is still a very interesting player and his battle with Raonic was very entertaining. Raonic proved his mental strength by coming back against Murray.

    As for Murray? His loss to Raonic confirms that his game has been and always will be physically grueling and so he has trouble sustaining high performance throughout the year. Unlike Nadal he doesn’t have one surface all to himself, so he will find it hard to be at the top. It is as it ever was, maiden Slam or no.

    So too for Federer–the top of tennis is where he belongs and will continue to be as long as he plays.

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    Veronica Reply:

    Great comments as always, Wilfred and Steve! Yeah, Roger’ spirit definitely affected by that loss in USO and it is actually good not to draw Berdych again; at least not until Roger has time to play himself into devastating form again. I Think Roger’s chances against Murray are better. Roger tends to lose to big hitters having a hot day Or great defenders who keeps giving him an extra
    ball. Murray is not typically either. If he plays aggressive, he can challenge Roger but he is not naturally so and we can always “depend” on him to self -loathe and self-destruct, can’t we?! Ha! Only problem I can envisage is, like Wilfred say, Roger may be drawn out into long matches with Murray which tires him out and he cannot afford any dragged out matches if he were to play all the remaining very important tournaments. Roger is definitely playing by ear as steve says and he just might play all the tournaments – But if he wins or goes deep in Shanghai and Basel, I don’t think he would be able to play Paris without compromising WTF. But lets hope for healthy body and super efficient play from Roger. Gosh, if he could play all and sweep all, it would be heaven here on earth for me!! Allez Maestro!!!

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    steve Reply:

    Well, at least he’s still in the tournament, Veronica! Tough match today and Wawrinka fought so hard but thankfully Roger 3.0 was able to pull it out of the bag. Hopefully he’s now rid himself of whatever rust there was on his game and the next one will be a little less eventful.

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    Wilfried Reply:

    I didn’t see the Tsonga-Djokovic match. But I can easily believe you when you say that Tsonga has been defeating himself.
    However, if Jo-Wilfried Tsonga hadn’t made that unforced error on his match point in the RG quarterfinals this year, we probably wouldn’t be talking today about a year end no1 race between Federer, Djokovic and Murray, but perhaps about a race between Federer and Nadal. So after all for us Federer fans it might be sort of a blessing in disguise that Novak has turned somehow into Tsonga’s personal”dreamcrusher”.

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    steve Reply:

    True, Wilfried. Federer would undoubtedly have beaten a tired Tsonga in the semis and then Nadal would have trounced him in the final since his game was sub-par during the latter half of the clay season. That might have been mentally tough to come back from in time for Wimbledon.

    Still, this time I harbored hopes that Tsonga would be able to pull it out but he threw away a break lead in the first set and that was the end of it, even though Djokovic missed many chances to take control during the first set.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Thanks Steve always nice to see you comment as well.

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  9. The last two years in Paris, he has only had one 3-set match – the loss to Monfils in ’10. He swept the field last year. If he plays Paris and sweeps through the field, it won’t hurt his chances at the WTF, even after long potential runs in Shanghai and Basel (well, we know Basel, certainly).

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    Veronica Reply:

    I really like your infectious positive enthusiasm, Kyle! – Except that this year’s Paris field maybe stronger. Djoko and Murray are not as beat as they were last year. Anyway, Roger got a good work out by Lu last night. Bit of rust but what a reception he got from the crowd!! Tignor said when Roger shows up, the crowd shows up!!

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    Wilfried Reply:

    Good comments, Veronica and Kyle. I also feel like Murray will be more dangereous in Paris than in Shangai. He has his eyes set on Paris and London I think more than last year. And it is not yet sure to me that Roger well play PAris.

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  10. I honestly think Fed is taking things on a tournament-by-tournament basis. If he wins Shanghai, for instance, he may not play Paris, but if he loses in the semis he may. I’m more worried about Djokovic than Murray at the moment which is good since Fed can’t meet Nole until the finals.

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  11. Hello Ruan, I haven’t commented before but have been following your blog now for at least a couple of years now and have to say, as a fellow GOAT fan, I always look forward to your posts.
    Just wanted to get your view, since no-one yet seems to have mentioned it, is whether Roger may be only playing to get the 300 weeks as world no. 1 record – he is currently on 299 – a significant milestone in tennis history that would cement his place even further as the GOAT.
    If he beats Wawrinka in Shanghai he is guaranteed of that however well Novak does there.
    Could this maybe explain a possible reason why he decided to play in the Davis Cup recently against the Netherlands – since wouldn’t he have gained a few extra precious points for the 2 singles victories he had there – knowing then that he would only have to reach QF in Shanghai to get to 300?
    Would be great to know your thoughts.

    Cheers
    Freddy

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Hi Freddy, always nice to get a comment like this from someone who has been following my blog for a long time. Not sure Roger played DC for that reason. I think he just felt obliged to keep his country in the world group. He didn’t have much of a choice but to play really. He now has the 300 weeks at #1 after beating Wawrinka today which is another fantastic milestone. But I hear the courts are fast and low bouncing which gives Roger a great chance to win this event. I am about to start a post.

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