The Shanghai Masters 1000 tournament in China concluded on Sunday 18 October and was a great boost for tennis in Asia. On the ATP Tour this was the most prestigious event held in Asia for the whole year.
The best result for a qualifier was making the round of 16, which was achieved by 33 year old veteran Rainer Schuettler who was runner-up in the 2003 Australian Open men’s singles. The other qualifiers were fellow German Florian Mayer, France’s Michael Llodra, Switzerland’s Marco Chiudinelli, Brazil’s Thomaz Bellucci, Poland’s Lukasz Kubot and Fabio Fognini of Italy.
The wild cards that were awarded to Chinese players resulted in a 1st round defeat of world No.540 Mao-Xin Gong by fellow wild card Marat Safin 6-4 6-4 and a great 1st round victory by world No.312 Shao-Xuan Zeng over world No.44 of Israel Dudi Sela, 2-6, 6-1, 6-4 before being knocked out by No.5 (5) Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the 2nd round 6-3 6-3.
Only 10 of the top ranked players won through to the last 16 in Shanghai. In the top half of the draw the quarter finals saw (1) Rafael Nadal move through when Ivan Ljubicic retired with a left leg injury. Nadal was trailing 3-6 and at triple break point down, being only 1 point away from being down a break of serve in the 2nd set against an on-fire and huge serving Croatian Ivan Ljubicic. Unseeded Feliciano Lopez defeated (9) Robin Soderling of Sweden 7-6 (7-4) 6-3 to set up clash of left hander’s and fellow Spaniards in the semi-final.
In the bottom half (6) Nikolay Davydenko won 6-1, 4-6, 6-1 against Czech (13) Radek Stepanek whilst in another closely fought 3 set match (2) Novak Djokovic defeated (8) Gilles Simon of France 6-3, 2-6, 6-2. The losing quarter finalists won 77,750 US dollars each and earned 180 ATP ranking points a piece.
In the semi-finals Nadal after leading 6-1 3-0 once again progressed due to the retirement of his opponent from another leg injury. Nadal literally ran his opponent’s off their feet! Davydenko progressed to the final after an enthralling encounter with Djokovic of Serbia by edging his opponent out in the final set tie break 4-6, 6-4, 7-6 (7-1). Lopez and Djokovic both won 151,800 US dollars in prize money and collected 360 ATP ranking points each.
Pictured above is Davydenko after making contact with the ball during his service action. The 28 year old Russian really improved his chances of qualifying for 1 of the final 2 spots remaining in the 8 player draw for the year-end ATP Championships (ATP Tour Finals), maintaining such a high level of play in Shanghai.
The men’s singles final saw Davydenko extend his unbeaten record in Masters 1000 finals to 3-0 by defeating Nadal for a 2nd time in a Masters 1000 final 7-6 (7-3) 6-3. Nadal won 302,000 US dollars as the runner-up he picked up 600 ATP ranking points. Davydenko was rewarded as the champion with 616,500 US dollars in prize money and more importantly for him, 1000 ATP ranking points.
For more information on this hard court tournament see an earlier post on this tennis website by clicking here -> ATP Major Tournament: Shanghai Masters.