While one half of the Shanghai Rolex Masters semi-finals will feature a mouthwatering contest between the top two players in the world, the first semi-final match-up to be played on Saturday will feature Spain’s Feliciano Lopez and France’s Gilles Simon, neither of whom were expected in the final four this week. This marks the fourth time that the two competitors will cross paths on the ATP World Tour, with Lopez leading the Head to Head series 2-1.
Feliciano Lopez rallied from a set down to defeat Russian showman Mikhail Youzhny 5-7, 6-4, 6-4 to reach the semi-final round of the tournament. The contest lasted two hours and four minutes and saw the Spaniard pick up his 200th hard-court victory (according to ATP World Tour).
“It’s a great feeling to be in the semis of a [ATP World Tour] Masters 1000,” said Lopez. “This one is always great. I always played some of my best tennis, especially here. It’s the third time that I’m going to be in the semis.”
In one of the more surprising results this week, Tomas Berdych was handed his second bagel set in less than a week when he lost to Gilles Simon 7-6(4), 4-6, 6-0 in less than two hours and 30 mins of court time. The win marks the Frenchman’s first Masters 1000 semi-final in over two years on the tour. He is now one win away from reaching just his second ever Masters 1000 final.
“I feel my tennis is coming back [over], I would say, two months,” said Simon. “I’m finding a better rhythm. I feel also physically stronger. Tomas is a great player. He’s always hard to beat. I think I almost played the perfect match today. It was really tight for two sets. I’m just happy that I won the fight.”
This marks the fourth time these two competitors will meet on the professional circuit, with Lopez leading the series 2-1. The Spaniard has also won their two most recent encounters on the tour, both of which took place on grass in 2013. Simon is 1-0 in hard court encounters against Lopez but earned that victory over six years ago in Rotterdam. While the odds favour Lopez on Saturday, it will be interesting to see if Simon can continue his streak of upsets this week in Shanghai.
“I think it’s going to be a very tough match for me,” Lopez admitted. “I have to be very smart tomorrow [and] aggressive. He’s very confident, as well. He beat Tomas today. He’s showed some great form during this week.”
Prediction: Feliciano Lopez in Three Sets