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Tennis News • Cilic, Thiem Lose In Shanghai Masters • Leaving London ATP Finals In Doubt

Dominic Thiem of Austria in action against Daniil Medvedev of Russia during their quarterfinal match of the St.Petersburg Open ATP tennis tournament in St.Petersburg, Russia, 21 September 2018.  EPA-EFE/ANATOLY MALTSEV



By Ricky Dimon


Marin Cilic would have clinched a spot in the 2018 Nitto ATP Finals with a final appearance at this week’s Shanghai Masters. Dominic Thiem would have secured his place in London with a title. Neither came close to accomplishing those feats. In fact, neither even survived his opening match.


Cilic squandered two match points during a 2-6, 7-6(6), 7-5 loss to Nicolas Jarry, while Thiem succumbed to Matthew Ebden 6-4, 6-7(8), 7-6(4).


Both players–especially the Croat–are still in good shape to make return trips to the yer-end champion. Cilic is No. 6 in the race with 3,825 points. Only Kevin Anderson has a chance of passing him in Shanghai. Thiem is right on the cut line at No. 8, 15 points behind Anderson but 605 ahead of ninth-place John Isner.


Novak Djokovic–who is one of five players who have already clinched spots at the O2 Arena along with Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, Juan Martin Del Potro, and Alexander–made no such mistake in his Shanghai opener. The three-time champion of this tournament got his week started with a 6-3, 7-5 defeat of Jeremy Chardy.


Next up for Djokovic is either Hyeon Chung or Marco Cecchinato, the only two players who beat him at Grand Slams this season–Chung at the Australian Open and Cecchinato in the French Open quarterfinals.


“Both of these players won against me the last time we met,” the Serb reflected. “I think I’m a completely different player than I was in first five (or) six months of the year. Hopefully the outcome can be different, as well…. I’m very grateful to play on a high level. I think that I’m very close to my best–and ‘best’ changes day to day. I can always strive to be the best I can be on that given day. Today’s performance was pretty close to that.”


Meanwhile, Ebden is in line for a surprising third-round showdown against Peter Gojowyczk, while Jarry awaits either Kyle Edmund or Andreas Seppi.

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

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