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
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.
|Jual Martin Del Potro||Roger Federer|
|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%)|
|Net Points Won||5/9 (56%)||14/20 (70%)|
|Total Service Points Won||67/11 (60%)||50/64 (78%)|
|Total Points Won||81||94|
Shot of the Match
Thoughts on the Match
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 🙂