The line up has been set for the last four at the prestigious Shanghai Rolex Masters as Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal moved to within one win of yet another blockbuster final on Sunday. However both will have tough opposition as the top seeded Nadal faces the in form Marin Cilic of Croatia, while Federer will have to beat the Argentine Juan Martin Del Potro on Saturday.
The top seeded Nadal is still drop serve in the tournament and is also on a 15 match winning streak following his 6-4,6-7(4),6-3 win over the sixth seeded Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria. Nadal who had beaten Dimitrov in three sets in Beijing last week where he won his 75th career title, looked on course for a straight sets win as he led 4-2 in the second set tie-break. But Dimitrov won the next five points to force a decider. Nadal regrouped and after saving a break point in the fifth game broke the Bulgarian’s serve in the next game and held his own service to seal the decider 6-3. He improves to 10-1 in his career meetings against Dimitrov.
Earlier on in the day, the fourth seeded Cilic easily beat the only other Spaniard remaining in the draw 6-3,6-4 and a win over Nadal will guarantee him of qualifying for the season ending ATP finals at the O2 Arena in London. Nadal, Federer and Zverev had already qualified before this week, while the Austrian Dominic Thiem became the fourth person to qualify.
Meanwhile, Juan Martin Del Potro’s hopes took a huge blow as he injured his left wrist as he sustained a fall in the third set of his quarter final win against the Serb Victor Troicki. The sixteenth seeded Tower of Tandill prevailed 4-6,6-1,6-4 but after the match immediately went to a hospital to have a MRI on his wrist. He remained hopefull of playing a rematch against Federer, whom he had beaten in the quarter finals at the Flushing Meadows in New York last month. Del Potro is atleast guaranteed of entering the Top 20 and can even jump to within 80 points behind the Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta in the Race to London should he win the title in Shanghai.
Roger Federer was the last on court as he beat familiar foe Richard Gasquet 7-5,6-4 in a battle of single handed backhands. Federer broke serve in the eleventh game and then held his own serve to clinch the first set 7-5. He then broke at the beginning of the second set but Gasquet broke Federer’s serve for the only time in the match. The Swiss maestro broke at 3-3 before closing out the one hour and eighteen minutes. The no. 2 seed has not dropped a set this week like Cilic, and takes a 16-6 head to head record against Del Potro in the semi-final on Saturday.
The following is the semi final line up with my pick mentioned first :-
Rafael Nadal (1) (64-9) v. Marin Cilic (4) (39-16); Nadal leads 4-1.
Roger Federer (2) (42-4) v. Juan Martin Del Potro (16) (27-13); Federer leads 16-6.
– Rasesh Mehta [Rasesh Mehta is an analyst with the Tennis Galaxy. You can reach him at the email: sportzcosmos@]