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Nadal must take advantage of Federer’s early Shanghai Masters exit

13 Oct | BY Betway | MIN READ TIME |
Nadal must take advantage of Federer’s early Shanghai Masters exit

The Swiss' second-round loss has improved the Spaniard's chances of reaching the final in China - and earning much-needed ranking points

He is far too respectful to admit it, but the second-round exit of defending champion Roger Federer at the Shanghai Rolex Masters will have pleased Rafael Nadal.

Originally scheduled to meet his great rival in the latter stages of the tournament, Nadal now has a significantly better opportunity of reaching his first Masters 1000 hard-court final in nearly two years.

Such a progression would provide the Spaniard with an additional 555 ranking points as he attempts to secure his place at the ATP World Tour Finals next month.

They would go nicely with the 300 he collected for reaching the final of the China Open last week.

And while the 6-2, 6-2 defeat to Novak Djokovic in Beijing showed that Nadal remains some way off producing his best tennis, the standard of his play is nevertheless improving after an underwhelming season.

The fizz in his forehand is returning, while the spirited nature that propelled him to 14 Grand Slam titles was prevalent – even in defeat – against Djokovic.

That is welcome for both Nadal and tennis.

The sport is better for a fired-up and competitive El Matador, who will hope a sustained run of tournaments between now and the end of the year – culminating in the lucrative eight-man event at the O2 – will provide the ideal platform for a successful 2016.

As for the tournament winner this week, it is almost certainly going to be – you guessed it – Djokovic, who has already won the tournament twice before.

The Serbian was knocked out by Federer in the semis last year, but is unlikely to have strong feelings either way regarding the Swiss’ early exit.

The world No. 1 has, after all, won four Masters 1000 titles already this season, while the victory over Nadal on Sunday was his eighth overall.

A victory this week would put Djokovic one behind his career-best total of 10 – achieved in 2011, when he also won three majors – and he will expect to better that tally with indoor events in Paris and London still to play.

He could face Andy Murray, the player who has just moved beneath him in the world rankings, in the semis.

A quirk in the tennis calendar – last year’s ranking points from Shanghai have dropped off a week earlier – returned Murray to his joint-highest ever position of second, but Federer’s defeat has ensured that he can now claim that position on merit.

Having been knocked out in the round of 16 last year, Murray will make a net gain of 1300 points on the 17-time Slam winner if he makes the last four.

Not that the Scot especially needs them.

While refusing to confirm his participation, the 28-year-old – refreshed for what is his first event since leading Great Britain to the Davis Cup final last month – has his place at the season-ending event in London confirmed.

Nadal will aim to do the same as soon as possible.

Shanghai Masters betting

READ: Andy Murray should defy ATP orders and skip the World Tour Finals

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