Eighth seed Stanislas Wawrinka (Bio) was hoping to grab his first victory in the eleventh meeting with World no. 1 Rafael Nadal (Tennis Gear) at the Shanghai Rolex Masters, but was sent home by the Spaniard in straight sets. The latter found himself under a pressure in a long twelfth game in the opener where the Swiss produced a set point, yet Rafa averted the danger with a well prepared attack before eventually holding the serve. The 20-minute tie-break that followed was a match on its own – the audience witnessed a tennis full of tension and emotions that accompanied some spectacular rallies as well as unforced errors from both sides. Wawrinka wasted a couple of more chances to steal his first ever set from Nadal before the in-form Spaniard pulled off a stunning drop shot to which Stan could not react at 10-10. Rafa converted the set point by tucking away a volley at the end of the follow-up rally.
With the first set under his belt and after bouncing back from 15-40 in the opening game of the set two, the second seed Spanish champion started to fully control the proceedings as he bossed his disillusioned opponent around later on to obtain a double break cushion by 5-0 before letting the Swiss get on the board. Nadal took advantage of the second match point to book a place in the tomorrow’s semis by winning 7-6 (10), 6-1.
“[It was] very tough,” Nadal commented on outcome of the opener. “I think I played a great set. But the court is fast. His serve was huge. He came to the court with that determination to hit every ball by taking the ball earlier, hit the ball very quick [and] go for the big shots in every moment. So [it] was very difficult to stop him.”
“[The] positive thing [was that] when he was playing well, I was playing well too,” Rafa continued. “I was able to resist. If I was not playing well, I [was] going to lose that set. After that, I was able to maintain the level.”
His next rival Juan Martin del Potro (Bio) of Argentina also secured a victory in straight sets by breaking Nicolas Almagro (Bio) three times and fending off the single break point he was confronted with. While the Spaniard scored more aces (12-9), Delpo won 85% of first serve points (Almagro 76%) en route to the Shanghai Masters semi-finals which he entered thanks to a convincing 6-3, 6-3 triumph.
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