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Rafael Nadal Beats Marin Cilic • Roger Federer Beats J.M. Del Potro • Here Comes A Great Shanghai Masters 2017 Final

Nadal sees off Cilic, Federer sets up blockbuster Shanghai final by beating Del Potro


By Ricky Dimon


Rafael Nadal continued his hot streak on Saturday afternoon, winning his 16th straight match with a 7-5, 7-6(3) defeat of Marin Cilic in the Shanghai Rolex Masters semifinals. The top-ranked Spaniard withstood 13 Cilic aces to break serve three times and prevail in two hours and 11 minutes.


“(I’m) very happy,” Nadal commented. “Of course I played I think a very high level of tennis. (It) was a great match again. In my opinion, he played well, too; was a great, good quality of tennis this afternoon.”


“I was hitting unbelievable shots off the ground, and against other guys they would be winners,” Cilic explained. “Or just with serving, serving well, that would be either an ace or winner, and he makes you play another shot.”


Just as Cilic threw everything he had at the world No. 1, Juan Martin Del Potro did the same against the world No. 2 later in the evening. It worked for a while, but in the end Federer was too good for the Argentine and got the job done after one hour and 57 minutes.


The tide turned with Del Potro leading by a set and serving at 2-3 in the second. He fought off four break points in that game, but Federer finally capitalized on his fifth opportunity and was promptly off to the races. The Swiss surrendered only three points in five second-set service games and also won 15 of 16 first-serve points in the third.


“He took the confidence after that game,” Del Potro said of the second set’s sixth game. “He broke me and he started to play more aggressive. He served much better after that game…. You cannot give any advantage against these guys.”


“Clearly getting the break and then holding, it’s always key in tennis,” Federer noted. “I’m happy I was able to do it, especially with all the twists and turns and, blink at the wrong time, he might hold the game and then you don’t know what’s going to happen next.”


What’s happening next is a 38th career contest against Nadal on Sunday afternoon. Nadal leads the head-to-head series 23-14, but Federer has won four in succession–including three this year in Melbourne, Indian Wells, and Miami.


Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @Dimonator.



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