World no. 1 Rafael Nadal (Player Bio) remains a contender for the Shanghai Masters trophy as he landed a third round victory against Carlos Berlocq (Player Bio). The unseeded Argentine – who upset John Isner yesterday – presented no problems to the second seed in the opener where he was broken three consecutive times, but found some foothold in the second set which progressed with serve all the way until the tie-break told the players apart. Berlocq went 5-2 up in the breaker, yet he never made it to a set point as the Spanish matador raced past him to ultimately win 6-1, 7-6 (5).
“I think I played a fantastic first set,” Nadal said after the match. “[In] the second [set], I felt a little bit more tired. He had a big opportunity in the tie-break with the 5 2. So I was lucky I played three great points in that moment. Unfortunately for him, he hit a double fault. At the end [it] was close, emotional. [I’m] very happy to be through.”
Nadal should face a tougher test tomorrow when he meets eighth seed Stanislas Wawrinka (Player Bio) who brushed aside in-form Canadian Milos Raonic (Player Bio) in straight sets. The first-set serving left little to be desired with the players holding convincingly to set the stage for a tie-break lottery. The Swiss number two eventually got in charge of the thirteenth game where he went on a six-point run to take the set. He then seized a vital break in the seventh game of the set two and closed out the clash with a hold to love – Wawrinka sealed a quarter-final spot with a 7-6 (2), 6-4 triumph.
Fifteenth-seeded Nicolas Almagro (Player Bio) of Spain advanced to the Shanghai quarter-finals after pulling off a great comeback against higher ranked Czech Tomas Berdych (Player Bio). The latter had better nerves in the first-set tie-break, but his Spanish rival leveled the terms thanks to a sixth-game break and by saving all four break points in the second set. The final-set drama first culminated at 5-4 when Almagro failed to serve it out, still his opponent gifted him a couple of match points in the tie-break by conceding two consecutive mistakes. Berdych’s final backhand landed in the net which meant the delighted Spaniard won 6-7 (6), 6-3, 7-6 (4) to prolong his dream of securing an ATP World Tour Finals ticket. He is to square off against Juan Martin del Potro in the Shanghai quarter-finals. The sixth seed Argentine was given free pass to the next round as Tommy Haas withdrew with a back injury.