ATP Shanghai Masters SF: Rafael Nadal vs Del Potro Preview

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After a fantastic opening set against Stanislas Wawrinka, Rafael Nadal (Bio) breezed through the remainder of the match to advance to the semi-finals of the 2013 Shanghai Masters, where he will meet World No. 5 Juan Martin del Potro (Bio) for the second time this year. The Spaniard denied Juan Martin his first Masters 1000 title of the season when he defeated him in three sets in Indian Wells, which gives the Argentine the motivation to avenge that loss and secure his fourth title in 2013. Check out the Nadal v Del Potro Head to Head.

The fourth-seeded Del Potro was suffering from a fever in the earlier stages of the tournament but has managed to stay in control and battle through several tight matches, including a 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 (7-4) win over German opponent Philipp Kohlschreiber but followed up with a strong 6-3, 6-3 win over Nicolas Almagro to reach the semi-finals. The Argentine has compiled a 34-8 hard court season and a 14-6 record in Masters tournaments. Del Potro is one win away from qualifying the year-end championships and returned to the top 5 in the ATP rankings for the first time in three years following his title win in Tokyo last week. He will be looking to beat the Spaniard tomorrow and prove that he is worthy of contending for Major championships.

While this may be the case, he is 2-6 lifetime in ATP World Tour Masters 1000 SF, which does not bode well for his chances at beating Nadal tomorrow afternoon.

Rafael Nadal is looking to carry forth his incredible momentum, which he accumulated throughout a remarkable comeback season on the tour, to finish strong atop the mountain. The Spaniard won two of the four Grand Slam titles this year, as well as a record-tying five Masters 1000 titles to boost him back in the No. 1 spot last week, even though he was not able to overcome defending champion Novak Djokovic in the China Open final. Now having usurped the No. 1 ranking from Djokovic, Nadal will be looking to maintain that spot by winning Shanghai and producing strong performances in Paris and the year-end championships.

The 27-year-old faced a tough opening set earlier today against Swiss No. 1 Stanislas Wawrinka, who took Nadal to a tiebreak and threatened with several set points before Rafa took the set 7-6(12-10). Wawrinka was incapable of recovering from the heartbreak of losing the opening set and was barely able to dent Rafa’s armour in the second set. He eventually lost 7-6, 6-1 in 1 hour and 47 minutes to bring his Head-to-Head record against the Spaniard to 0-11.

The Head-to-Head record between Nadal and Del Potro stands at 8-3, with Nadal winning their last five encounters over the past two years. No matter the stats, this is certainly going to be an outstanding semi-final contest between two competitors with high hopes to achieve their end-of-season goals. Nadal is looking to remain in the top spot in the rankings and Del Potro will be looking to prove that he belongs amongst the elite players.


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