Shanghai Draw: Federer Gets Nishikori


http://www.atpworldtour.com/share/event-draws.aspx?year=2014&eventid=5014&draw=ms

Hi folks. Long time no post. It’s been a three week break but could have been twice that long had Roger decided to skip Shanghai. I think the North-American hard court season and Davis Cup took a lot out of Roger, but as long as he doesn’t play Paris I don’t see it being a problem. I think after what happened at the US Open Roger is not satisfied and he is still pushing hard for something better. And of course we as fans are very grateful that Roger is back. It is good timing for me too as for once the tennis is in my time zone being in Thailand, and the school holiday just started here so I hope Roger can do well in Shanghai. It won’t be easy though. Roger has a pretty decent draw up until the quarters, but then he could run into Nishikori who comes off a US Open final and back-to-back tournament wins in Kuala Lumpur and Tokyo. Clearly Nishikori is on a very impressive run.

Just to get back to last week quickly, Nishikori beat Raonic in a close encounter in the Tokyo final while Djokovic destroyed Berdych 6-0, 6-2. Nishikori looks to be the most promising young player right now although Thiem is coming up fast. As for Djokovic he is in devastating form and cemented himself as the king of Asia by remaining unbeaten in Beijing in five tournaments. Against Berdych he was serving for the double bagel at 6-0 and 5-0 but then played a poor game. Did he feel sorry for Berdych? Who knows but to me it’s a shame that he missed out on a very rare opportunity to bagel a player in a final, and more so since it was Berdych. And not necessarily because Berdych is always in the zone against Roger. I just don’t like Berdych very much. Back to the Shanghai draw and Roger will play his first match on Wednesday against the winner of Mayer and wild card Wu.

The most popular male tennis player in China swamped on arrival

So he will probably play Mayer. Then it looks like Bautista-Agut again or maybe Pospisil. Given Roger’s recent form he should make at least quarter finals then and thereby improve on last year’s third round exit against Monfils. He wouldn’t have come all the way to Shanghai to lose in the quarters though. And maybe winning two tournaments in two weeks will count against Nishikori as well. He is injury prone and from what I hear he is already struggling with an injury again. He could also be just tired in general. Nishikori has already got his work cut out for him if he wants to make quarters because he will play America’s biggest young hope in Sock in his first match, and then probably Dimitrov who looked impressive today in his first match against Istomin. So we can have another Federer vs his clone in the quarter finals too.

If Roger makes semis he is likely to face Djokovic again, but Djokovic has a tough draw as he got Thiem in the second round and a resurgent Murray in the quarters. Djokovic did beat Murray 6-3, 6-4 in Beijing, but Murray is playing better and better and will once again try to make life hard for Djokovic. Given Djokovic’s form he is the favorite to make the semis though. That would no doubt be a tough ask for Roger but should be fun if it happens anyway. I’d be fine with semis as it is. That would be a 270 point increase from last year and would help him to get closer to Nadal in the rankings, or even pass him if Nadal should lose before the semis. Nadal of course was upset in the quarters of Beijing by Klizan. I watched and it’s of course always a pleasure when attacking tennis wins over defensive base line grinding. This meant that Roger only needed to do better in Shanghai to pass Nadal in the rankings!

The key to success is having fun!

So it was a bit unfortunate that the Shanghai draw worked out as it did because Nadal got a a friendly draw compared to Roger and Djokovic. He has Raonic in his quarter though who could possibly take Nadal out if he plays really well. But these are very convenient draws for Nadal who is still trying to find form after his break. In Beijing it was also Djokovic who got Murray in his half. We will see. Maybe Raonic can upset Nadal and Roger can make semis to pass Nadal in the rankings. But if Nadal beats Raonic then he will probably make the final. But as we know with draws it hardly ever works out the way you expect so it’s rather pointless to look that deep. I just hope Roger can make semis at least in which case he has done his part and then it is up to Nadal to equal or better that. But the main thing is that Roger is back on court, playing well, and enjoying himself again!

 

Posted in Masters 1000, Shanghai.

33 Comments

  1. Hey Ru-an and all, what’s up?? Now that Roger is back I hope we all will be commenting more. Me, I have been very very busy (and still am), but it is soooooo great that Roger is playing. He has (unfortunately) a very busy schedule from now on, but hope, as he is the GOAT of scheduling, that he knows best what to do.
    I was very sorry to hear his trainer Stephane part ways (and what better place to go to than Baby Fed :-) ), but as long as SEVE is not leaving him, I don’t mind.
    You hear me Severin, if you leave Roger….. Oh my God…. I will print your picture, put it on my wall and…. throw darts at it :-) :-)
    Hope Roger gets far. This is the draw he needs. Difficult, almost impossible. Better than that wayyyyy too easy draw at USO.
    By the way, thanks Cilic…. for playing literally the match of your life to screw Roger and for losing left and right after that :-)

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Hi Katyani. Contrary to you I am on holiday and it is a needed one too. You are right about the draws of course. You never know how it will turn out and anything can really happen. As for Cilic will he be another Stan? I hope not. I’d like him to keep playing well and beating top guys.

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    Katyani Reply:

    Hey Ru-an, enjoy your holiday. You definitely deserve it !!!

    Nah, I was just kidding about Cilic. Unfortunately I also like Cilic. He is a good player and credit where credit is due…. THAT NIGHT…. I honestly don’t think Rafa, Novak or Andy could have beaten THAT Cilic. But…. like always…. and this is really getting boring and frustrating….. when they play Roger they suddenly remember that they are great players :-)
    Somehow Roger ALWAYS brings the best in his opponents. So hope…. Rafa will have the same effect on his opponents :-)
    Hey Ru-an, how’s your health and job hunting going??

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Thank you Katyani. I just finished working my first semester at a school here in Thailand Katyani. Health is still an issue but I’m working on it. How are you?

    [Reply]

    Katyani Reply:

    How am I Ru-an?? Uhmmm, lets see, it is almost 19:30 hours in the evening here and I am at my work (like almost every day ALL alone with the cleaning ladies) :-) I don’t understand how people can only work 8 hours a day and not more. I cannot seem to go early to home or finish early…. Sorry, had to make that rant….

    Hope our Goat is ready for tomorrow :-)
    Go Roger :-)

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Haha that’s that good that you are dedicated Katyani. Looking forward to the tennis.

    [Reply]

  2. Hi Ru-an, Guess I am the first to comment to your great blog as usual, thank you, Ru-an. Good to hear that you will be more free to watch some tennis, especially Roger. Yes, may he make a deep run in Shanghai. His popularity is sky-high in Shanghai!
    Watched the deciding set of tennis yesterday with Nishi/Raonic on court. I like them both, both played some good tennis with good court manners. Bet some of our young people that come to your blog, will wonder why I mention “good court manners”. Believe tennis used to be a Gentlemen’s Game, this title may have flown out the window!
    Tante Toni (Aunt Toni) will keep his pupil going until he reaches Roger’s GS number, mho.
    Hope Roger will have something to say about it. Go Roger, C’mon, Roger.
    Kindly,
    Dolores

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Hi Dolores. Not sure about the court manners. In the old days they had guys like Mcenroe and Connors who pretty much did what they want. One could argue that nowadays it is more of a gentleman’s game. Personally I miss the old days too with the rivalries and banter. Today is all PR driven and boring. And it’s too fake. There are more characters needed in the game.
    And yeah Nadal will catch Roger. Just a matter of time. I can see Nadal winning two slams again next year and then tying Roger already in 2016.

    [Reply]

    Dolores Reply:

    Oh, my court manners remark goes far back, Ru-an, remember my age! As for McEnroe and Conners, you are right, their behaviour, imo was a disgrace to USA.

    [Reply]

  3. I think he should play Paris. If he does well in Shanghai meaning either winning it or reaching the final he should definitely play Paris. If not he should forget about ending the year number 1 and not play Paris. And I don’t understand why everyone is so scared about the Davis Cup. The Swiss are definitely winning this one either 3-1 or 3-0.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    If he reaches the final in Shanghai and plays Paris he will risk the WTF and DC, unless he skips Basel which is hard to see. The year end #1 is not all that important even though it would be nice to have. It’s more important to pace himself and be in the best shape he can be for the AO next year. Another slam title clearly comes ahead of another year end #1, not only now but at any time.

    [Reply]

    Albert Reply:

    Year-end #1 for Roger, at age 33, without having won a grand slam this year, would definitely be epic. What’s the record for oldest year-end #1? Though I think it’s unlikely to happen. I think from Federer’s point of view, everything now is just icing on the cake. His career accomplishments speak for themselves, and he will be considered legendary and iconic for years to come even if Nadal or anyone else surpasses him in total Grand Slam titles.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Yes it would be epic Albert. But the chances are slim and why should he burn himself out for it? Better to get the rest and focus on winning the WTF and DC. Looks like he will decide whether or not to play depending on how he does in Shanghai http://www.tennis.com/pro-game/2014/10/roger-federer-keeping-fall-playing-schedule-flexible/52945/#.VDPZefmSySq

    [Reply]

    Katyani Reply:

    Hey Ajay, I kind of agree with Ru-an. For me, WTF and DC titles will be more than enough (if he cannot win any other titles this year).
    Basel would be so great if he wins that. Especially since he lost that to Delpo 2 years in a row.
    And Shanghai would be great too. The one he doesn’t have yet. DC would be EPIC. The haters not rubbing it in his face that Rafa has got that and he does not.

    But oh my God, God please, please, please, for the love of God, for God’s sake….. please let Roger win WTF. If he only wins DC and WTF I will be more than happy.
    And I definitely agree with Ru-an, beeing more than ready for AO is the most important thing. GS, that’s what it is all about….

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Well WTF will be difficult to win with Djokovic being in the form he is in but even if Roger can only beat Nadal there it would be almost enough. It’s been too long since he beat Nadal and I’d like to see it happen at least once more before he retires. Also that loss to him last year at the WTF was such a joke and I’d like him to set the record straight for that. I think Roger can win the WTF but he has a better shot at Basel and DC I think. I’d like to see him reach his goal of winning 5 titles this year by winning Basel and the WTF but if not the WTF then DC won’t be the worst consolation prize.

    [Reply]

  4. Was that Beijing final even really necessary? There was never any doubt of the result, only the scoreline. There’s more suspense in watching the Harlem Globetrotters.

    Kudos to Berdych for having at least enough fight to avoid the double bagel. It would have been the first double bagel in the history of best-of-three ATP finals.

    Djokovic is looking good to stamp his authority on the fall HC and indoor seasons to make sure he retains the #1 ranking. He’s apparently shaken off his post-Wimbledon slump and looks to be once again primed to resume his status as the best hard-court player in the world. I see this stretch of tournaments from now until the end of the year as mostly being a fierce battle between him and Federer.

    IMO, Nadal is only playing this fall to keep his ranking high enough to avoid falling out of the top four. If he were playing for keeps, we’d have magically seen Super Nadal and he’d have been in the final in Beijing. The only tournament he cares about in this stretch is YEC, and he didn’t manage to win it in his two best years so it would be quite hard for him to do it this time. As far as this tournament goes, his last few losses have been to journeymen and qualifiers (Brown, Kyrgios, and Klizan) so the fact that his draw looks soft may not keep him from getting bounced early. However, I expect him to regroup for AO and to come back really, really strong to try to win the double Career Slam.

    Federer’s got his work cut out for him to finish strong this season and try to lay the groundwork for next year. Not to mention Davis Cup–he’d love to be part of a successful champion effort by the Swiss team.

    Federer looks like he has a good chance of making the semis. If he gets to the semis, then I expect him to make the effort to get to the final so he can have a chance of winning this title. Fortunately, Federer will only have to deal with at most one of Djokovic and Murray in his half.

    Murray was unbeatable on this court for nearly three years, but Djokovic broke his dominance a couple years ago in a tough final where Murray had match points, and I’m not sure Murray will ever recover. As with Nadal and Monte Carlo, once that kind of streak is broken it seems to be very difficult to regain that dominance again.

    Djokovic is the big favorite for this title, given he’s the two-time defending champ and his recent form. But I wouldn’t count out our man. He wants to build a strong foundation for next year, and winning where he hasn’t won before would do that. This particular hard court has never seemed to agree with him, but that should just be more motivation for him.

    C’mon Roger!

    [Reply]

  5. What an awesome victory and what an incredible TIEBREAK!!! Roger is now Number 2 in the World! :-)

    YESSSSS!!!! Saved 5 Match Points. Now let’s go on and win this!!!

    [Reply]

  6. Roger seemed to come in a little out of shape. But I love the way he won ugly against truly inspired play by Mayer.

    It’s just too bad that the Greatest Gift to Tennis had to lose today!
    :-)

    [Reply]

    Katyani Reply:

    Hey Joe, actually it is not bad at all that the Greatest Gift to Tennis lost, right?? :-)

    I really believe the only reason he did not sit this period out (and practise his tennisbrains out while beeing “injured” just to come back at AO), is because he did not want Roger to become nr 2. He tried to stop that (and luckily failed). I really think he wanted to try to be nr 2 during AO just so he can avoid Novak there.

    Question: if there was no chance that Roger could be nr 2, do you really think Rafa would play now at all??

    And what is up with him not wanting to have an operation? Can’t he see that for his appendix it is better to have the operation? Why is he playing with his life?? I don’t understand him… All the times he could have some sort of surgery, he opts out….

    [Reply]

    Joe Reply:

    Hi Katanyi, I agree completely.

    Maybe I shouldn’t say it, but I’m not entirely convinced about the appendicitis story. Could someone be playing the comeback hero scenario yet again? That story is a little past its sell-by date in his case (IMHO), as we saw at the AO 2014 finals this year.

    But he probably does have a mild case, and doesn’t want to lose his number 2 spot, just as you said.

    In any event, I’ve been thinking for some time that Roger may play Nadal at AO 2105. And I think it would be a great place for him to avenge his most painful loss.

    Yesterday (I understand he’s been resting) I thought his legs looked less muscular, and his mid-section was not as firm as it has been in recent matches.

    That’s fine, because he definitely needed to rest. But in my opinion, the core strength exercises are absolutely critical to Roger’s success in 2015 – and possibly to success in 2016 as well. Papa Ruan has made this point many times.

    I like that he won ‘ugly’ yesterday, and I’m encouraged that he beat a top 25 player who was playing the inspired match of his life, when he himself still had some rust to shake off.

    Poor Mayer! He took the loss hard. Which is good, because he played with his heart! He should not hang his head. He played beautiful tennis and was not intimidated by the occasion or the opponent.

    I’m not so sure Roger wouldn’t have had a shot at returning the shot that hit the net and bounced back… but maybe I saw the point from a misleading angle, so I don’t want to be too insistent on that point.

    But I think Roger looked very good, all things considered. Despite rest and rust, he showed excellent mental strength and courage, and made some incredible shots when he had to.

    I don’t want to get ahead of myself but now that he has number 2 taken care of, I am really looking forward to AO 2015!
    :-)

    [Reply]

  7. Almost gone but in the end well done! Federer to the third round

    [Reply]

    Katyani Reply:

    Hey Mridul, the 1st MP that Mayer had (I don’t know if you have seen that), but that was Roger beeing EXTREMELY LUCKY. If the ball would have been over the net at Roger’s side, he would have lost already. But… it is about time that Roger gets lucky too in these things….
    I hope he takes this win as a confidence and gets far and even wins :-)

    By the way, loved how honest Roger was at the pressconf when he said that he was lucky to have won and that he felt sorry for Mayer and that Mayer deserved to win.

    [Reply]

  8. So if Roger beats Djokovic/ Murray, then he wins the title! :-)

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    And here was me thinking he still has to win the final!

    [Reply]

    Vily Reply:

    True, we shouldn’t jump to conclusions. Still a LONG way to go. I just want him to win this title, just like I wanted him to win Monte Carlo and Rome last year. I want him to win as much as he can out of the remaining ATP Masters 1000s. Will see! :-)

    [Reply]

  9. Now on the topic of Nadal’s appendicitis – here’s what I think. I think that there is a viable thesis that Nadal may have been on some sort of steroids (which are immunosuppressant) and that may have contributed to his appendicitis.

    What seems crazy to me is how he wants to play! What the hell is wrong with this guy? When he had a little wrist injury he skipped 3 months and now when he has an acute appendicitis (potentially a life-threatening condition) he wants to be macho and play.

    Now this may be pure speculation but I think that he is on something – something that usually is hard to be detected if Nadal continues to play because as he performs, the amounts of it in the blood are very little or hard to detect. But If he now stops, there is a chance that he can get caught. I don’t know. There is a lot of speculation in what I am saying but there is definitely a validity in the argument that Steroid Usage can contribute to the development of appendicitis. Feel free to do your own research if you wish..

    [Reply]

  10. Other high risk populations include the elderly who often present late in the disease course, may have more subtle signs and symptoms, and require a broad differential diagnosis for abdominal pain. Pregnant patients may have an atypical presentation due to displacement of the appendix by the gravid uterus. Patients on steroids or other immunosuppressants may have a blunted inflammatory response and thus may not develop rigidity or rebound tenderness. It is paramount that the physician maintains a high index of suspicion for appendicitis in these patient populations.

    http://www.cdemcurriculum.org/ssm/gi/appy/appy.php

    There you go. That can also explain why Rafa had a blunted response. usually, if one is having appendicitis. he or she is in extreme pain. But because Nadal may be on the steroids, that could explain why he doesn’t present as much symptoms. This guy, man!!!

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    No doping discussions on my blog please Vily. There is a thread for Nadal’s appendicitis on my FB page where you can discuss it. Please just comment about topics related to the post.

    [Reply]

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