Somewhere Andy Roddick has to be cracking a smile, if only a little one. The American’s complaint just a few days ago that the lengthy ATP season is causing injuries is proving ever prophetic by the day.
Through three rounds of play at the inaugural Shanghai Masters seven players have already succumbed to injury leading to their retirement from the tournament.
Seven is now the number after Gael Monfils (wrist) and Stanislas Wawrinka (ab) were added to the names of the previously wounded in battle: Roddick (knee), Juan Martin Del Potro (wrist), Tommy Haas (shoulder), Mischa Zverev (wrist) and Jose Acasuso (knee).
And when you include that fact that Andy Murray withdrew with a wrist and Roger Federer simply passed up the event citing fatigue, the picture isn’t pretty on the men’s tour right now.
Perhaps it’s just a case of bad luck, perhaps it’s the schedule or perhaps the players are trying to prove a point with this rash of retirements (I doubt that). Whatever the case let’s hope it’s isolated. I know it’s the end of the year and some players are likely to be suffering from burn out and disinterest but someone’s got to be left to win this title on Sunday. And Novak Djokovic can’t really be the healthiest top player on the tour, can he?
As for the matches, after a day of semi-upsets, some good quarters are still on tap for Friday highlighted by Djokovic v. Gilles Simon. I think Djokovic will win but it could very easily go the distance. Simon desperately needs this win if he’s to make ground in the race to London. The victor will meet the winner of Nikolay Davydenko and Radek Stepanek. Stepanek has beaten the Russian in their last three non-clay meetings and I expect him to make it four.
On the top half we appear to be well on tasty semifinal collision between Rafael Nadal and Robin Soderling. Nadal figures to be a huge favorite against Ivan Ljubicic while Soderling will try to level his head-to-head with Feliciano Lopez who leads the Swede 3-2. The two played earlier in the year with Soderling winning in a Florida Challenger of all places!
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