2014/10/02

Djokovic Saves Match Points to Take Shanghai Crown Over Murray

By Abigail Hinto

SHANGHAI, China – In a three-hour and 22-minute battle, Novak Djokovic saved five match points to end Andy Murray’s perfect record in Shanghai 5-7, 7-6(11), 6-3 to capture the Shanghai Rolex Masters on Sunday.

 

As semifinals Saturday at the Shanghai Rolex Masters gave us one installment of the big four match-ups when Murray defeated Federer 6-4 6-4, finals day gave us Novak Djokovic against Andy Murray in a repeat of the US Open Finals. It’s a one match advantage for Djokovic in an 8-7 head to head against Murray, but Murray had won their last two meetings, at the semifinals in the Olympics and that thrilling final at the US Open where Murray finally took home his first major.

Ironically, these two old friends and rivals have met the least amount of times among the big four. But it’s been more a matter of their ranking places, having spent mostly as No. 3 and No. 4 behind Federer and Rafael Nadal. Now that rankings have switched and rotated more recently, we may see more of these two facing against each other as we have seen it happen five times already this year.

Djokovic and Andy Murray are among the best returners on tour. But have we seen as much breaks of serve in a match between these two especially in fast hard court like Shanghai?

The first set saw six breaks of serve before Djokovic finally held serve again since his first service game for 5-4. A hold for Murray as well and the match was once more level at 5-5. Serving for a 6-5 advantage, Djokovic was easily holding at 40-0 only to see his lead slip away when Murray eventually breaks. Murray finally wins the first set 7-5 in 1 hour and 13 minutes.

What could have been a straight sets victory for Murray turned into a tight, tense, nervy affair when Murray failed to serve out the match at 5-4 and the second set went into a tiebreak. Saving five match points, Djokovic turns the match around and takes the second set 13-11 in a 20 minute tiebreak.

 

In the third set, both men held firm until the seventh game when Djokovic broke Murray for a 4-3 lead. Murray saved a pair of match points when serving at 3-5 but could not hold on to his serve – game, set, match and title to Djokovic 5-7, 7-6(11), 6-3.

 

“It’s difficult to judge who was better because it was so close throughout the whole match,” Djokovic said after the win. We had so many rallies in three and a half hours; for a best-of-three set match it is a very long time. Could have easily gone the other way. He was five match points up. When I faced those match points, I tried to focus on each individually. He was so close to the victory that I cannot say I was the better player.

“I’m trying to focus now on the end of the season. I need to play well indoors. I need to try to stay consistent with my results and eventually get a shot at No. 1 of the world. It’s my biggest objective in this moment. It’s something I’m aiming for. Obviously this is going to be a huge confidence boost and is going to help me in the race for No. 1. As I said, it’s still not done. I still have to play well indoors.”

“It was a disappointing one to lose, “ Murray said. “I’ve lost tougher matches than that before in the biggest events. So I’m sure I’ll recover from it pretty well.

“The second set, I probably played a little bit better. But he came up, served very well on the match points. The one match point I had on my serve, he hit the forehand onto the edge of the line. On the game where I served for the match, he also came up with some good shots.

“It’s not like I threw the match away. I didn’t make any real glaring errors or anything. When I had my chances, he just served very well and hit a couple of lines when he needed to.”

 

“We had an incredible year so far with our matches, big matches in important events,” Djokovic said. “He definitely is a different player this year. You could see by the results he’s achieved. He’s more aggressive on the court and he’s definitely a danger to anybody on any surface.”

This marks the seventh different Masters 1000 series title for Djokovic. Up until Sunday, Murray has a perfect record in Shanghai, winning titles the last two years.

With the victory, No. 2 Djokovic is getting closer to passing No. 1 Roger Federer for the top spot in the rankings as he heads into the BNP Paribas Paris Masters and the ATP World Tour Finals in the coming weeks.

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Djokovic Advances to Shanghai Final

By Abigail Hinto

SHANGHAI, China – Impressive form from Novak Djokovic as he reaches his first Shanghai Rolex Masters final by defeating Tomas Berdych 6-3 6-4. Djokovic came off to a flying start breaking Berdych in the 2nd game and right away was serving for the set 5-1. But a couple of errors from Djokovic and a steadier play from Berdych saw Berdych getting one of the breaks back as Djokovic was trying to serve for the first set. Berdych saw another opportunity to even the set at 5-3 but a forehand error long on breakpoint and Djokovic closes it out 6-3. A more straightforward second set with one break of serve and Djokovic finally reaches the final of all Masters 1000 events.

 

Djokovic was pleased with the way he played the match, satisfied with his tactics and movement on court, “movement today was very important from my side, to be on a very high level so I can try to get into the longer rallies where I find more chances on my side, you know, to win those rallies. [I] played tactically right. I was putting a lot of returns into the court, making a lot of pressure on his serve. On the other hand, I was serving well when I needed to.”

 

Berdych can only give credit where it’s due, “He started really like a champion. He started really, really great, and didn’t give me a chance at all. But he just hold it solid and just took over me. So, yeah, he was just too good for me today.”

Djokovic will play the winner of the Roger FedererAndy Murray match in Sunday’s final.

Abigail Hinto is covering the Shanghai Rolex Masters for Tennis Panorama News. Follow her updates on twitter at @TennisNewsTPN.

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Berdych or Tsonga, Who’s Next?

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga

By Abigail Hinto

SHANGHAI, China ( October 12, 2012) – We’ve been looking at the next generation of ATP players for their significant breakthroughs for some time now. And with Andy Murray finally winning his first grand slam, the focus on them to deliver on their promise is only going to get bigger. But the breakthroughs have so far only come in spurts. Milos Raonic beats Andy Murray in Barcelona and Tokyo then falls in the next round. Kei Nishikori overcomes the pressure of playing at home by winning Tokyo, loses in the third round the following week in Shanghai. Bernard Tomic takes out seeds at the Australian Open showing versatility and chutzpah only to admit to buckling to the pressure of the calendar and defending points by the end of the year. And what’s even happening to Grigor Dimitrov and Alexander Dolgopolov?

 

Three of the ATP’s big four come from the same generation. Compared to the generation following them, Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray and Rafael Nadal have achieved significantly more, reaching the top 10, winning Masters 1000 tournaments or winning a grand slam as teenagers. The three have entrenched themselves thoroughly at the top that, along with Roger Federer, the focus at the big tournaments have mostly been on them. But what about the other members of their generation who, even compared to the young players now have achieved more early in their careers? Today, we saw two of those players, Tomas Berdych and Jo-Wilfred Tsonga face-off in the quarterfinals of the Shanghai Rolex Masters and have their 1-1 head-to-head tilt slightly in favor of one over the other.

Tomas Berdych

It’s interesting to compare these two players who were born exactly five months apart (Tsonga b. 17.04.85, Berdych b.17.09.85). Jo-Wilfred Tsonga and Tomas Berdcyh have been switching places in the rankings the past year with Tsonga now at No. 6 and Berdych at No. 7. Both are Grand Slam finalists with two semifinals appearances as well. Berdych made his mark first, turning pro two years (in 2002) before Tsonga did. He beat Roger Federer at the Athens Olympics then won his only Masters title in Paris in 2005. Tsonga, a relative late-bloomer because of injuries, announced his arrival to the top of the game when he beat Rafael Nadal at the semifinals of the 2008 Australian Open showcasing both his power and touch. Like Berdych, he has one Masters also in Paris. Both have several wins against the top 4 and have even beaten them at the slams. But what does it take to make that one final step to winning a Grand Slam? Is it just a mental barrier, maybe a little bit more luck needed to be involved? Is the reason why we’ve been looking at the next crop of players because we feel that Berdych and Tsonga have already taken their games to their peaks?

 

Now compare what both have to say today after their quarterfinal match:

 

Tsonga: I think there is many difference between them and me (comparing himself to the top 4). At the base we don’t have the same story. There is also the difference that technically I think they’re a bit better than me. I have to improve. They are also physically better than me. They are everything better than me, so it’s tough for the moment (smiling). But, you know, they’re just better than me for the moment. I’m working, you know, to join them.

 

Berdych: Well, I would stay with the way what I’m doing. I believe myself that it is the right way to do it. You know, I hope that I’m going to be able to lift the (grand slam) trophy at least once in my tennis career, which hope it’s going to be in next few years. That’s it. You know, try, work hard, and that’s it. Now it’s tough to say like what you want to improve, better forehand, better backhand. It’s not about it anymore. It’s just the small details, all the things that have to become well in the right moment. I was playing really great in the US Open. Then come up the match I was playing against Andy, which the conditions was absolutely no playable at all. Our match was going on, then the next one they just stopped. So this is kind of things when you see it, you look at it, you say, Well, why it’s not me the match that gets stopped and I can continue next day? So you also need some luck to do it.

 

Today, in a close match, it was Berdych who edged ahead of Tsonga 6-3, 7-6 to reach his first semifinals at the Shanghai Rolex Masters. Based on the result and his more positive attitude about the future, will he be the first between the two to be the next new grand slam champion?

 

Abigail Hinto is covering the Shanghai Rolex Masters for Tennis Panorama News. Follow her updates on twitter at @TennisNewsTPN.

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Shanghai Rolex Masters – Thursday Results, Friday Schedule

RESULTS – THURSDAY, 11 OCTOBER, 2012

Singles – Third Round
[1] R Federer (SUI) d [13] S Wawrinka (SUI) 46 76(4) 60
[2] N Djokovic (SRB) d F Lopez (ESP) 63 63
[3] A Murray (GBR) d A Dolgopolov (UKR) 62 62
[4] T Berdych (CZE) d S Querrey (USA) 62 67(3) 64
[5] J Tsonga (FRA) d M Baghdatis (CYP) 62 76(2)
T Haas (GER) d [6] J Tipsarevic (SRB) 62 61
R Stepanek (CZE) d [8] J Isner (USA) 64 67(5) 63
[10] M Cilic (CRO) d F Verdasco (ESP) 46 61 64

Doubles – Second Round
[2] M Mirnyi (BLR) / D Nestor (CAN) d T Berdych (CZE) / N Zimonjic (SRB) 62 76(5)
C Fleming (GBR) / R Hutchins (GBR) d [3] R Lindstedt (SWE) / H Tecau (ROU) 64 75
[4] L Paes (IND) / R Stepanek (CZE) d K Anderson (RSA) / S Querrey (USA) 64 64
M Cilic (CRO) / M Melo (BRA) d [5] M Fyrstenberg (POL) / M Matkowski (POL) 75 76(4)
[6] A Qureshi (PAK) / J Rojer (NED) d P Andujar (ESP) / F Lopez (ESP) 62 16 10-8
[7] M Bhupathi (IND) / R Bopanna (IND) d T Huey (PHI) / J Marray (GBR) 76(9) 64
J Melzer (AUT) / M Raonic (CAN) d [8] A Peya (AUT) / B Soares (BRA) 63 64

SCHEDULE – FRIDAY, 12 OCTOBER, 2012

STADIUM start 2:00 pm
[5] J Tsonga (FRA) vs [4] T Berdych (CZE)
Not Before 3:00 PM
[3] A Murray (GBR) vs R Stepanek (CZE)
Not Before 6:00 PM
T Haas (GER) vs [2] N Djokovic (SRB)
Not Before 8:00 PM
[1] R Federer (SUI) vs [10] M Cilic (CRO)
E Butorac (USA) / P Petzschner (GER) vs M Cilic (CRO) / M Melo (BRA) – After Suitable Rest

GRANDSTAND start 2:00 pm
[7] M Bhupathi (IND) / R Bopanna (IND) vs [2] M Mirnyi (BLR) / D Nestor (CAN)
[6] A Qureshi (PAK) / J Rojer (NED) vs C Fleming (GBR) / R Hutchins (GBR)
Not Before 4:00 PM
[4] L Paes (IND) / R Stepanek (CZE) vs J Melzer (AUT) / M Raonic (CAN)

Federer Escapes Wawrinka to Hold on to Top Spot for 300th Week

Notes and Quotes from Shanghai

Shanghai Rolex Masters – Thursday Results, Friday Schedule

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Meet Treat Conrad Huey

By Abigail Hinto

SHANGHAI, China – As a tennis fan from a small country, we ever hardly get the experience of cheering for our own. When Cecil Mamiit (career high ranking of No. 72) was playing his best tennis on tour, he was still representing the USA. But we Filipinos knew his descent and cheered hard for him. The Philippine Tennis Association (Philta) then approached him to play for the birth country of his parents and he has since helped revive the popularity of tennis in the Philippines by winning Gold Medals during the Southeast Asian Games when it was last held in the Philippines. He then helped in bringing in another American of Filipino descent to play for our Davis Cup team and now, proudly wearing the Philippine colors, Treat Conrad Huey is steadily climbing the doubles ranking on the ATP Tour (current ranking of No.  41). This year, Huey with his regular doubles partner, Dominic Inglot won his first doubles career title in Washington DC.

 

Covering the Shanghai Rolex Masters for Tennis Panorama News, I grabbed the chance to meet and interview my countryman, Treat Conrad Huey. He and his double partner here, Jonathan Marray may have lost in the second round, but Huey says has definitely felt the support of Filipinos here and especially in Malaysia as the tour made its way around Asia.

The Philippine Davis Cup team fell in the third round of the Asia/Oceania Group II to Indonesia last September, but it has certainly experienced a revival in results and support from the home crowd compared to some years back. Getting medals at the regional Southeast Asian and Asian games have also helped. Hopefully, it can only get bigger and better. As Huey has taken on the role of big brother and mentor to a couple of our younger, home-bred talents, his teammates and practice partners in Davis Cup, he only sees a bright future for them and for Philippine tennis.

 

On a lighter note, to know more about Huey and the Philippines, let me tell you that his favorite Filipino food is longaniza – a pork sausage very similar to chorizo. Meanwhile, his doubles partner Inglot loves his mom’s cooking of pansit. It is any kind of a noodle dish which was initially introduced to the Philippines by the Chinese but has since been Filipinized in flavor. And as the Philippines is an archipelago composed of over 7,000 islands, it boasts of beautiful islands and beaches. One place Huey would definitely recommend to his doubles partner is the island province of Cebu, where he has experienced the warmth and hospitality of its people aside from its white sand beaches when the Philippines hosted a couple of Davis Cup ties there.

 

 

Abigail Hinto is covering the Shanghai Rolex Masters for Tennis Panorama News. Follow her updates on twitter at @TennisNewsTPN.

 

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Haas Upsets Almagro at Shanghai Rolex Masters

ATP World Tour Masters 1000
Shanghai, China (+8 hours GMT)
7-14 October, 2012 Surface: Hard

RESULTS – MONDAY, 8 OCTOBER, 2012

Singles – First Round
T Haas (GER) d [9] N Almagro (ESP) 46 76(4) 62
[10] M Cilic (CRO) d [Q] L Kubot (POL) 75 63
[11] R Gasquet (FRA) d [Q] B Baker (USA) 62 63
A Dolgopolov (UKR) d J Chardy (FRA) 63 62
K Anderson (RSA) d J Nieminen (FIN) 62 76(4)
B Paire (FRA) d [Q] P Petzschner (GER) 76(2) 64
S Querrey (USA) d [WC] Z Li (CHN) 63 61
A Seppi (ITA) d [Q] M Berrer (GER) 62 76(5)
T Robredo (ESP) d [Q] A Bogomolov Jr. (RUS) 76(4) 64
G Dimitrov (BUL) d P Andujar (ESP) 75 63

Doubles – First Round
E Butorac (USA) / P Petzschner (GER) d T Bellucci (BRA) / B Tomic (AUS) 61 60
T Huey (PHI) / J Marray (GBR) d [WC] M Gong (CHN) / Z Zhang (CHN) 75 46 10-6
SCHEDULE – TUESDAY, 9 OCTOBER, 2012

STADIUM start 2:00 pm
K Anderson (RSA) vs [8] J Isner (USA)
[Q] M Matosevic (AUS) vs [12] M Raonic (CAN)

Not Before 6:00 PM
R Stepanek (CZE) vs [WC] L Hewitt (AUS)

Not Before 8:00 PM
F Verdasco (ESP) vs [7] J Monaco (ARG)

GRANDSTAND start 2:00 pm
[14] K Nishikori (JPN) vs [WC] D Wu (CHN)
J Melzer (AUT) vs [15] G Simon (FRA)
F Fognini (ITA) vs M Baghdatis (CYP)

Not Before 6:00 PM
[Q] Y Lu (TPE) vs [WC] Z Zhang (CHN)

UNION PAY COURT 3 start 1:00 pm
A Ramos (ESP) vs [13] S Wawrinka (SUI)
F Lopez (ESP) vs A Falla (COL)
[10] M Cilic (CRO) vs M Klizan (SVK)

COURT 4 start 1:00 pm
B Tomic (AUS) vs F Mayer (GER)
V Troicki (SRB) vs M Youzhny (RUS)

Not Before 4:00 PM
K Anderson (RSA) / S Querrey (USA) vs A Dolgopolov (UKR) / J Tsonga (FRA) – After suitable rest

COURT 5 start 1:00 pm
D Istomin (UZB) vs C Berlocq (ARG)
S Gonzalez (MEX) / S Lipsky (USA) vs T Berdych (CZE) / N Zimonjic (SRB)

Tennis Panorama News will begin on-site tournament coverage on Wednesday.

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Shanghai Rolex Masters Gives Wild Cards to China’s Zhang Ze, Wu Di, and Li Zhe

The Shanghai Rolex Masters has awarded main draw wild cards to China’s leading male players Zhang Ze, Wu Di, and Li Zhe.

 

The Shanghai Rolex Masters will be played at the Qi Zhong Tennis Center 7 to 14 October and these young players will have the chance to mix it with some of the biggest names in world tennis.

 

“We see this as a tremendous opportunity for Wu, Zhang and Li and we are delighted to be in a position to offer them these wild cards which avoids them playing the tough qualifying rounds,” Tournament Director Michael Luevano said. “We feel this sort of experience is invaluable. To be playing main draw in one of the biggest tournaments in the world and the only ATP Masters 1000 event in Asia is a dream come true for the guys.

 

“The world of professional tennis is highly competitive and the fact that we can open the door just a bit and give the guys the opportunity to test their games against the international stars, we feel will stand them in good stead with their careers.”

 

Zhang is the No.1 Chinese male player and he is ranked at a career high of 166. Nicknamed “Big George” he plays No.1 in Davis Cup for the country and this year will mark his third time in the main draw for the Shanghai Rolex Masters, the last being in 2011.

 

During 2012 he reached six quarterfinals at the Challenger level, an incredibly impressive effort. The Nanjing resident reached that round most recently at Ningbo and also at the Road to the Shanghai Rolex Masters Challenger, played at Qi Zhong. At a Tour level he qualified at Halle and made the last 16. He also won two and reached the final of three Futures events.

 

Wu recently turned 21 and is also at a career high ranking of 185. This will be the Wuhan native’s second time, and first since 2010, in the main draw for the Shanghai Rolex Masters.

 

Wu was a finalist at the Beijing Challenger, was a semi-finalist at Challengers in Ningbo and Karshi and made the last 16 of the Road to the Shanghai Rolex Masters Challenger. This year he has also done well at the Futures, winning three and reaching two other finals.

 

Li reached a career high ranking of 307 in July this year and is currently ranked 393. The 26 year from Tianjin has enjoyed quite a bit of success at Futures tournaments. He won titles at China F9 and Israel F8 and was a semi-finalist at four other events in China. This will be Li’s second main draw visit to the Shanghai Rolex Masters having also played last year.

 

The Shanghai Rolex Masters voted the last three years the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 “Tournament of the Year”, is the only such event in Asia. It will once again be hosting the best of the best including two time defending champion, Olympic Gold medallist and new US Open champion Andy Murray, winner of a record 17 Grand Slam titles Roger Federer, five time Grand Slam winner Novak Djokovic and last year’s finalist and Davis Cup hero David Ferrer.

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Lleyton Hewitt Gets Wild Card Into Shanghai Rolex Masters

Tournament Director Michael Luevano said today that former world No.1, Grand Slam champion and winner of the season-ending championship, Lleyton Hewitt has been awarded the first wild card to the 2012 Shanghai Rolex Masters.

The award-winning Shanghai Rolex Masters will be played at the Qi Zhong Tennis Center, 7 to 14 October.

Currently ranked 101, 31 year old Hewitt has made yet another tremendous come back from surgery and continues to show his great fight and determination on the world’s tennis courts.

“We had no hesitation in awarding Lleyton a wild card when he asked for it,” Michael Luevano said. “Shanghai tennis fans will remember the outstanding run he had here in 2002 when he won the year-end championship which was then known as the Tennis Masters Cup.

“That year he defeated Albert Costa, Marat Safin, Roger Federer in the semis and then Juan Carlos Ferrero in a gripping five set final. That incredible spirit has never left him no matter how many times he has been forced to make comebacks after injuries and surgeries.

“Lleyton held the world No.1 ranking for 80 weeks and was a winner of Wimbledon and the US Open, and I have no doubt fans at the Shanghai Rolex Masters will be thrilled to see Lleyton in action once again at Qi Zhong Tennis Center.”

This will mark the third time Hewitt will be playing in Shanghai. Other than in 2002, he was also at the first Shanghai Rolex Masters in 2009 when he defeated John Isner in the first round before being stopped by Gael Monfils.

The Shanghai Rolex Masters voted the last three years the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 “Tournament of the Year”, is the only such event in Asia. It will once again be hosting the best of the best including two time defending champion, Olympic Gold medallist and new US Open champion Andy Murray, winner of a record 17 Grand Slam titles Roger Federer, five time Grand Slam winner Novak Djokovic and last year’s finalist and Davis Cup hero David Ferrer.

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Notes from Shanghai

Abigail Hinto was in China covering the Shanghai Rolex Masters. She gives her personal reflections on last week’s tournament.

 

Qi Zhong Tennis Center

 

By Abigail Hinto

Tennis attendance in Shanghai

Before coming to the Shanghai Rolex Masters tournament, the buzz around the tennis world has been about the lack of people in the stands.  On Thursday, my first day at the tournament, the proletariat section was about half full.  Not bad for a weekday.  The rain helped too in that the people were pretty much forced out of roaming the grounds and into the stadium to watch the only matches available to them.  However, the corporate seats remained empty.  We all know the importance of corporate sponsorship to the success of a tournament, but I believe something could and should be done with how corporate boxes and seating are set-up.  It doesn’t look good on TV when you tune in to see two tennis players battle their hearts out on court in what looks like an empty stadium.  How can we lure new fans to the sport when it looks like no one’s interested in it?  It also hasn’t helped the sport that tennis has always been viewed as an elitist sport.  So how can tennis shed this image when people see a tennis stadium’s lower boxes surrounded by widely-spaced, empty corporate seats.  So how about interspersing the corporate boxes with seats for the general paying public?  Have the lower section filled with more seats. On a late night match/last match of the day when only few people are watching, have the remaining spectators come down from the rafters to fill up the seats below.  Perception is a powerful tool.  When TV viewers see a tournament looks like it isn’t well attended, they would think tuning in wouldn’t be worth their time too.

 

The Shanghai crowd is an enthusiastic bunch.  On both semifinals and finals day, the stadium was almost full.  I don’t know how it looked on TV, but out there live, it was a fun and exciting atmosphere.  In the finals, the crowd was evenly split cheering for David Ferrer and Andy Murray.  They were constantly cheering and reacting to great rallies and awful misses.  It would be great for the tournament, and tennis in general, if that’s what we could always show to the rest of the world.

 

The different faces of defeat

Top players are required to do post-loss news conferences.  Seeing Andy Roddick and Rafael Nadal in theirs was a study of the different faces of defeat.  Roddick, who hasn’t been playing well all year, took a step in the right direction this past week at the Shanghai Rolex Masters.  Even though he lost to David Ferrer in the quarterfinals, he was playing well again.  As he said, his performances in Beijing the week before and in Shanghai were night and day.  There was spring in his step as he walked into his post-match news conferences, and was generally in a chipper mood.  Athletes want to win all the time.  But if there’s such a thing as a moral victory, this was one for Roddick.

 

Meanwhile, for Rafael Nadal, his has been a year of near misses, now losing 7 finals including 2 grand slam finals.  It’s a first for him in his career, where he has been very solid in closing out tournaments as proven by his 47 career titles including 10 grand slams.  Coming on the heels of losing another final in Tokyo last week to Andy Murray (including a 6-0 third set), he would have wanted to make a good run in Shanghai especially in the absences of his nemesis this year, Novak Djokovic and also Roger Federer.  But he slipped up in his second match and fell to Florian Mayer, returning serve dismally and unable to break brown, his usual strength, Mayer’s serve and volley game.  So Shanghai was no longer just a near miss for him, but a lost opportunity, as he acknowledged in his news conference.  He walked into his news conference head bowed and somber.  He answered the first question straight up, extreme disappointment clearly showing in his face.

It will be interesting to see how each player moves forward now from their losses with their different reactions to it.

 

Songs in Shanghai

The Shanghai Rolex Masters wins, hands down for the tournament with the best change of ends music choices.

My top 5 songs of the week:

5.  All the country music played during the Roddick-Ferrer match

4.  “Turning Japanese” by The Vapors before Murray was about to serve Nishikori a bagel in their semifinals

3.  “Dancing Queen” by Abba as Murray was about to serve for the Championship in the finals against Ferrer

2.  “Mmmm” by Crash Test Dummies during the Lopez-Ferrer match

1.  “Endless Love” by Lionel Richie during the Roddick-Ferrer match.  Even got Roddick swaying to the music as he was waiting to serve in the next game

 

Angry Murray

I never realized how angry Andy Murray can get on court until his semifinals match against Rafael Nadal at this year’s US Open.  I knew there’s that side of him, and he’s constantly criticized for it, but I never really paid any attention to it, and it has never bothered me at all.  That is, until that US Open semifinal match.  I would think that with this winning streak he’s been on, the angry side would come out less often.  But seeing him at the Shanghai Rolex Masters, I guess it really is part of his game.  Is it the perfectionist in him?  Never wanting to lose a single point?  A way to release the tension in a match?  Up a set onDavid Ferrer in the finals, first point of the 2nd set, he misses his return off Ferrer’s first serve.  He goes to turn and shout at his box.  It has gotten a bit tiresome for this writer, this need of his to vent out every single lost point.  It’s working for him now, but honestly, is all of that really necessary?

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Murray Win in Shanghai Moves Him up to World No. 3

Andy Murray of Britain waves to fans after his win over Michael Berrer of Germany during their second round match at the Thailand Open 2011 tennis tournament in Bangkok September 29, 2011 . REUTERS/Chaiwat Subprasom (THAILAND – Tags: SPORT TENNIS)

 

 

By Abigail Hinto

SHANGHAI, China – Andy Murray defeated David Ferrer 7-5, 6-4 to capture the Shanghai Rolex Masters tournament, his eighth Masters title. The victory will give the Scot the No. 3 ranking on the ATP World Tour as of Monday, knocking Roger Federer down to No. 4.

 

The Shanghai Rolex Masters final started with a tight first game as David Ferrer was broken after 10 minutes that featured four deuces.   Ferrer barely put a first serve in during that long first game.   Andy Murray and David Ferrer are known for their baseline prowess; they can construct points with their ground game and extend rallies with their defense.  But here at the Shanghai Rolex Masters especially, these two players had been serving really well.  When it mattered the most, Ferrer’s serve let him down.  Serving at only 44% in the first set, the Spaniard got tight at 5-5 and hit a backhand error into the net for break point down and double faulted the break away.  In contrast, Murray served to take the first set with two aces.  Ferrer’s serving woes continued in the second set as he screamed when he was serving at 1-1 after just breaking back Murray after missing another first serve again.

 

Ferrer summed up the match, “I fought a lot, but today it was impossible to beat Andy. He’s a very good player and person. I didn’t serve really good this match, also because Andy received very well and I had to play closer to the lines. Andy was better than me in the second set. Maybe in the first set I had my chances. [But] I played so bad this game (at 5-5). After I had a long time serving very bad. Anyway, is difficult to beat Andy in these moments. He is playing with (a lot of) confidence.

“I enjoyed the week a lot. Here in Shanghai, I’ve had the best moments of my career; I reached the final (of the Tennis Masters Cup) in 2007 and again this year. I hope to win next year.”

Murray capped off his finest streak on tour so far by completing an Asian triple, winning tournaments in Bangkok, Tokyo and Shanghai. He has now won 25 of his last 26 matches and is on a 15 match winning streak. He also leapfrogs Roger Federer to No. 3 at the ATP World Tour Rankings.

“This week I think overall it’s satisfying,” said Murray. “I didn’t necessarily feel like I played amazing tennis, I just think I did the right things, made it very difficult for my opponents, and managed to win a tournament of this size when I still felt like I could have played a little bit better.

“My goal for the last three-four months after the US Open was to try to finish as high as possible and win as many matches as I could. It’s obviously been a great start. But I’m still not guaranteed to finish at No. 3. I’m still going to have to win some more matches. But if you finish in front of Federer in a year, then there’s not many people the last five, six, seven years that have been able to say that. So that’s obviously a nice thing if I can do it.

“I was really happy with the way I stayed focused. It’s hard to explain. It’s almost you’d think the more matches you win, the less pressure you feel. I was hitting the ball well, but there’s still a little bit of tension because you want to try and keep the run going. I was really happy I managed to win today because it’s always very tough playing against him.

“I think the best thing about it is just winning matches. Even like today, I wasn’t necessarily playing my best tennis the whole way throughout, but I served well when I needed to, and that was it. I chased every ball down. I fought for every single point as hard as I could. That’s something you need to do if you want to win all the time.”

Murray’s serve that had been working well all week as he was serving at 63 percent for first serves. His forehand, thought to be the weakest part of his game has become very effective and more consistent.  He has been able to dictate rallies with his cross court forehand and go for winners with his forehand down the line.

 

But the question remains, when will Murray be able to bring this kind of game to a major?  This year has been his most successful year on the grand slam stage, reaching three semifinals and one final at the Australian Open.  He can beat the best of the best having a career head-to-head lead over Federer, being only the second player to beat Novak Djokovic this year, and recently besting Rafael Nadal in the Tokyo finals with a 6-0 3rd set.  There’s nothing more left for Murray to prove on the tour but to win that elusive first major title.

Singles – Final
[2] A Murray (GBR) d [3] D Ferrer (ESP) 75 64

Doubles – Final
[2] M Mirnyi (BLR) / D Nestor (CAN) d [3] M Llodra (FRA) / N Zimonjic (SRB) 36 61 12-10 – saved 2 M.P.

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