ATP Masters 1000Roger FedererShanghai Masters

Federer Out Toughs Del Potro to Setup Nadal Final in Shanghai

Roger Federer will play Rafael Nadal in Sunday's Shanghai showpiece after coming from a set down to defeat Juan Martin Del Potro, 3-6, 6-3, 6-3 at in 1 hour and 58 minutes.

The Swiss will be looking to capture his second Masters 1000 title at the Qizhong Stadium after battling hard to make the final. Federer, who was looking for revenge after his US Open loss to Del Potro weathered an early barrage of bullet forehands and shook off failing to convert four break points at 3-2 in the second set to convert his fifth and build enough momentum to take him into the final without facing a break point in the second or third set.

Quick Match Recap

Fed Del Potro Shanghai Semi Final 2017

Federer won the toss and like all week, elected to receive. Del Potro held to fifteen with some big serving off the bat.

Roger levelled to love and in game three came out on top in a 20 shot rally en route to holding his first break point. Del Potro snuffed out the danger though with some big serving to lead 2-1.

Another love hold saw the Swiss level at two all but in game six Del Potro got on a roll, breaking to 15 to lead 4-2. The break was consolidated for 5-2 and when serving for the set Del Potro pulled off one of the points of the match at 30-30 before sealing it 6-3.

With Roger's Ace count standing at zero, it was important he won some more free points on serve and two aces in his opening service game gave him a confidence-boosting start to set two.

Del Potro levelled for one game a piece and after the pair traded further holds the fireworks started in game six with a marathon 14 minute game that saw Fed finally break on his fifth break point. The Swiss then held to love in 1 min and 22 seconds for 5-2 and although he couldn't convert set point at 2-5, he served it out to love to level things up.

Into the decider and momentum was now firmly on Roger's side and he was able to break in game three thanks to some slick defense to draw the error from the usually rock solid Del Potro forehand.

Roger then consolidated the break, hitting a drop shot that landed flush on top of the net on game point for 3-1. The pair then traded two holds each with Del Potro making no inroads on the return as Roger moved to a 5-3 lead and despite getting pegged to deuce, won the next two points to book his spot in the final.

Match Stats

Jual Martin Del Potro Roger Federer
Aces 12 7
Double Faults 1 0
First Serve Percent 67% 72%
1st Serve Points Won 48/74 (65%) 40/46 (87%)
2nd Serve Points Won 19/37 (51%) 10/18 (56%)
Break Points Saved 7/10 (70%) 0/1 (0%)
Service Games Played 14 14
1st Serve Return Points Won 6/46 (13%) 26/74 (35%)
2nd Serve Return Points Won 8/18 (44%) 18/37 (49%)
Break Points Converted 1/1 (100%) 3/10 (30%)
Winners 29 35
Unforced Errors 29 21
Net Points Won 5/9 (56%) 14/20 (70%)
Total Service Points Won 67/11 (60%) 50/64 (78%)
Total Points Won 81 94
SABR 0 0

Shot of the Match

Thoughts on the Match

Fed Del Potro Shanghai

Great win here for Federer to avenge the loss in New York and he showed his mettle out there today when Del Potro was firing on all cylinders. The first set was all about the Argentine who seemed one step ahead in all areas, he returned serve with interest, fired down 8 aces and showed no signs of the wrist problem that was supposedly putting his participation in doubt. It was one of the cleanest sets you'll see and Fed was by no means playing poorly.

However, Fed know's better than most the profile of Del Po having played him twenty-two times previously. That is he can be completely unstoppable for parts of a match but if you stick around long enough he's not a guy who emanates incredible consistency. And that's what happened today, Roger upped his game on the first serve to start holding more comfortably and buoyed by the crowd he stuck around in the that 14-minute game when it looked like Del Potro might just sneak out of it. Once he'd got the break, consolidated it and bagged the second set he went big favourite and began to play more freely in the third. His energy levels went up, whereas Del Potro's went down and that huge forehand that was a wrecking ball in the first set wasn't quite as dangerous. Fed then took charge of points with more regularity to break and he never looked like being broken again after that sole loose game in the first set.

Predictions vs. Nadal


So next up is Nadal who saw off Cilic in two tight sets in the earlier semifinal. Unfortunately, I didn't see the match but from reports, Cilic played a decent enough match and had some success coming forward but couldn't quite eke out a set.

I've only seen highlights of Nadal this week but his form since New York speaks for itself; he's been on a 15 match win streak so he's clearly playing with a lot of confidence and heads in tomorrow's final as the betting favourite. Nadal has played most of his matches around the time of the final too so he'll be well used to the conditions should the roof be open.

Anyway, I'm not quite sure what to expect. If Fed pulls up well from today's three-setter then it should be close. There's plenty in the court for his attacking game so if he's got the energy it could be another real battle. Will Fed go 4-0 for the season or will Nadal carry on his hard court form? Let me know what you think πŸ™‚


Huge fan of Roger Federer. I watch all his matches from Grand Slam level right down to ATP 250. When I'm not watching or writing about tennis I play regularly myself and have a keen interest in tactics, equipment and technicalties of the sport.

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    1. No I’ve lost out first twice now this tourney ? Roger spanking Nadal back to Majorca tomorrow will make up for it ?

  1. Saw the end of the 2nd set and the final set and Roger looked in good form, and pretty pumped up to win. Lots of attacking net play and solid ground strokes.

    Nawal will be a different proposition to what he was earlier in the season so I think it will be tough for Rog to eke out a victory in this one. If he serves great then of course he can do it but I expect Nadal to get one more notch for this win total.

    Going for Nadal 6-4, 6-3 (unfortunately).

  2. Fed will win all of the matches against Rafa this year. Wouldn’t that be wonderful, to end this amazing year? And It’s about time for nadal’s winning streak to end. Go Roger! You can do it!

  3. My heart says Roger but my head says Nadal. The tactics will be interesting. How much will Fed come forward? Better with the roof closed? Sedation time for sure.

  4. Thanks Jonathan for another good summary. Roger was solid today and it sets him up to have a chance tomorrow. Serve will need to be big and his return game will need to be aggressive with fewer errors than what we were seeing earlier in the week.

  5. I think it might depend on some luck like today, at the latest in 2. set, to boost Fed’s spirit. But as Fed fortunately isn’t the most predictable player, he may actually get his fastness mobilized with lightening precision, so that he can demolish Rafa sufficient to win tomorrow. I pray for that!!

  6. Roger will win he had the look of a man on a mission he didn’t get to the final just to lose remember he will pray free the pressure is on nadal not Roger. I see 3 sets if he doesn’t start of well if not two tight sets. Good luck Roger?

  7. Finally finding time to watch the SF. You r right! Delpo all over Fed in 1t set but I kind of knew he might run out of steam if Fed kept his cool…
    Tomorrow tough call as change of time for Fed, less time to recover, and Rafa on a run. He has to serve well and be brave! First strike tennis will beat Rafa on this court. Allez!

    1. Del Po always does tbh, very rare he can keep it up for an entire match. Reminded me a bit of an Indian Wells final against Nadal a while back, was unplayable for a set but faded.

  8. My prediction – Fed wins 6-0 6-0 tomorrow !!!

    Obviously gonna be much tougher than that. Haven’t seen any matches of either till now. So no way to predict.

    But Fed is in Rafa’s head for a change. Not as much as how much Rafa was in Fed’s head earlier but still that factor is there.

    Fed wins in straights is my prediction. Forget the score.

    1. When Rafa comes for him he can think back to Rafa coaching him at Laver Cup to be more aggressive ha ha and Rafa always says Fed is far more aggressive in 3 set matches. On a fast court under the roof with rain predicted it all helps Fed?

  9. Rest/recharge factor – adv Nadal.
    Court speed factor – adv Fed.
    Opponents preparing players for the best – draw.
    I think it depends on who shows up tomorrow. Nadal has been in ominous form. If Fed is able to get rested and take today’s match as ‘practice’ to get him into peak condition, he has at least an even chance I think. I thought I saw him mixing up the slice & topspin bh again. But if it ends up having taken too much out of him & he feels like he’s already played a final, his chances are less good. Delpo has been consistently playing above his ranking I think, getting closer to where he ‘should’ be ranked when uninjured. Obviously if peak Nadal shows up, things are more complicated than if it’s tired Nadal – but I haven’t seen much sign of the latter. Glad to see Fed playing so well & moving freely in any case. Quite a few highlight reel shots in this match on both sides.

    1. Yes, it’s tough when you’re playing second the whole time: starting 4 hours earlier, so only 20 hours to recover instead of 24, and your opponent having finished quite a bit earlier – and playing 1 set less – doesn’t help, either. I have a nasty feeling this one may be Rafa’s.

  10. Am I the only one that got a chuckle out of Del Potro complaining about the crowd? Didn’t seem to bother him much in his match against Tiem at the U.S. Open. As for the final, think it will be a nail-biter but like Sue, my heart says Roger but my head says Nadal. I will be thrilled to be wrong and if fan support helps, Roger will pull it off.

      1. It’s gonna be 50/50 support wise and no whining pls πŸ˜‰
        Prediction wise, I predict Fed 7/5 6/3 and I hope for the opposite tho πŸ™‚

  11. Has Nadal really been in peak form? Certainly playing well but Pouille Shld hv beaten him in Beijing, Dimitrov lacks courage and belief at very big moments and so does Cilic. He’s been clutch but Fed v different oppo so..

  12. I watched Rafa’s match today and he didn’t play as good as he was playing the res of the tournament. Cilic had his chances but broke apart in the high presure moments.
    Nadal looked pretty tired to me (understandably). 7-5 6-2 for the Swiss Maestro.

    1. Everyone can have an off day. But the trajectory since the USO began is still very much in Rafa’s favor I think.
      Also – Tignor picked Fed, so Rafa’s a lock.

  13. Great win for Fed he just keeps reminding me why I’m such a fan. I thought Rafa was very unRafalike when he lost his serve, not sure if I’ve ever seen him so angry with himself. So after despatching Delpo hope the same can happen with Nadal tomorrow so C’mon Roger only one to go x

  14. Go Roger!

    I think tomorrow’s final will be a close match, hopefully Roger will be on the winning side, i do think he has a chance if the serve works as usual (high percentage on the first and solid second serve) and makes a bit less errors ok break points.

  15. Delpo was a very tough opponent today but Roger kept his cool and strategy and managed some fabulous shots which weakened Delpo’s insistence. Same for tomorrow. Nadal is tougher of course but Roger knows his way around Nadal. I predict Roger in three sets.

  16. USO or not, Delpo was right to ask for quiet between 1. and 2. serve. And he got it. But he also got significance of who is massively the most popular. – I think we were all frightened of this big guy’s brutal sledgehammer of nasty forehand. Rafa is another kind of fish.
    Our Rog has his chances today. He knows Rafa so well and has followed his new aggressive form (which may have tired Rafa a little by now), and has a game plan. He’s historically faster, likes to be fast. It will depend on physical form, and spirit of aggression. We saw Rog’s spirit yesterday. If that steam is still up, and physics (darn backhand) too, Roger has a more than fair chance.

  17. Man…
    Hate to be a coward (maybe)…
    But I really feel like Nads has the fierce animal things going on full steam and Fed is just not quite there in terms of energy and power like we saw for the first half of the year. It’s like – Fed has gone down and Nads has gone up.
    If I had to bet I would say Rafa in two very clear cut sets, like 6-4, 6-4.
    I hope I am wrong of course, but I’m all about lowering my expectations – as if that ever helped.
    But then again, nothing will change AO’17 Set 5, so i won’t be that bummed.

    1. Arh, Alb. Roger looked rock solid throughout. And a bit animal ducked forth yesterday even. But I might not dare watching too, but I trust and believe. Remember when he was down in 5. AO? Will to win!!!

  18. Roger in straight sets. If not, I hope Nadal gets busted for a failed drug test finally and gets thrown out for life. πŸ™‚

      1. Hey sweet Shamtoot, congrats to your guy too. He played great, but like Seve said after AO, Roger just did not want to lose (to him).

        And it is nice to see Roger play like this, making great points

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