In the match between two young guns who participate in Masters Cup for the first time, Juan Martin del Potro ousted Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in two tie-break sets (7:4, 7:5) after 1 hour 51 minutes. Both sets had very similar process – Del Potro was leading 2:0, Tsonga got back on level terms at 2:2. In the first tie-break Tsonga was leading 3:1 but hit forehand wide from comfortable position and moment later Del Potro was 5:3 up and finished the set with two service winners. The second tie-break was mainly decided by stunning Del Potro’s backhand passing-shot which landed on the line and gave him leading 4:2. At 5:2 Del Potro served double fault, Tsonga saved with great serves (17 aces in the match, 12 in the first set) two match points but on the third match point, Del Potro hit strong first serve and forced Tsonga to an error after aggressive forehand. Del Potro has won third match this year 7-6 7-6 (previously against R.Schuettler and M.Fischer) and keeps alive his chances of qualifying for the semifinals, Tsonga lost his own chances after next match in that group between Djokovic and Davydenko. I’m very happy,” said Del Potro. “I beat the winner of Paris. He’s playing with a lot of confidence, like me. I played a great match. I played very good on the important points in the second set, and that was the key to beat him.”
Novak Djokovic as a first player this year secured a place in the semifinal after 7-6 0-6 7-5 win over Nikolay Davydeko. The Russian was 5:3 up in the first set and was two points away from taking the first set at 5:4 (30-30) on serve. Djokovic after winning first set tie-break easily, completely lost concentration what almost cost him losing 8 games in a row – Davydenko won second set 6-0 in just 18 minutes and had double break point at 1:0 in the third. Later Davydenko had gamepoint for a 6:5 lead but did an abysmal volley error and lost his serve. In the next game Djokovic quickly jumped to 40-0 and converted second match point with forehand winner. This outcome means Tsonga is eliminated from the tournament (he had theoretical chance to go to the semifinal if Davydenko would win against Djokovic). “It’s a great achievement for me, going through the semifinals, which kind of gives me a relief of the upcoming match,” said Djokovic. Davydenko has lost for the first time in ATP a match when he won a set 6-0. After the match he said about his next match against Del Potro: “You know it’s your last chance. If I win, I can qualify. If not, then I go on holiday.”
(7)Juan Martin del Potro (ARG) d. (6)Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA) 7-6(4) 7-6(5)
(2)Novak Djokovic (SRB) d. (4)Nikolay Davydenko (RUS) 7-6(3) 0-6 7-5
In the battle of very long rallies, Andy Murray overcame Gilles Simon 6-4 6-2 and advanced to the semifinals. Murray has beaten Simon in straight sets for the third time this year. The Scott began the match with a 4:0 lead but Simon with his “never say die” attitude had break point to level up to 4:4 – did a return error. At the beginning of the second set Simon had three break points at 1:0 but couldn’t convert his chances and quickly found himself being 1:5 down. “The more I got him moving, the more I changed the pace of the ball and he started to make more mistakes,” said Murray.
Andy Roddick withdrew from the tournament because of injury (sprained ankle in the practise session). Before the tournament started, many players had refused to go to Shanghai as the altenates. The invitation accepted Radek Stepanek (26th in Champions Race) and Nicolas Kiefer (35th), therefore after Roddick’s withdrawal, Stepanek was playing against Roger Federer, becoming the lowest ranked player who has participated in Masters Cup history. Federer won 7-6(4) 6-4 but his form was far from his best, lost a break advantage in both sets and won match point after Stepanek’s double fault. Stepanek, who was on holiday in Thailand before arriving in Shanghai, said: “I had a racquet from Novak Djokovic, and I got socks from Andy Murray. But he’s using the same ones as I do, so I asked him if I could borrow one.” Federer has to beat Murray to qualify to the semifinals, Stepanek after losing first match, hasn’t any chance to play in the semifinal.
(3)Andy Murray (GBR) d. (8)Gilles Simon (FRA) 6-4 6-2
(1)Roger Federer (SUI) d. (alt.)Radek Stepanek (CZE) 7-6(4) 6-4