Rafael Nadal is out! The World No. 2 lost today to Florian Mayer 7-6(5), 6-3 in the third round at the Shanghai Masters. Nadal, who hasn’t won a title since the French Open, was critical of his service returns.
“He played really well,” said Nadal. “I didn’t. I felt that I was not playing bad from the baseline. But my return, when he was serving the first serve, was terrible tonight. I only won four points in whole match [on his] first serve. So I cannot expect win a match when the opponent is playing well, is serving well, is doing very good serve and volleys, returning, and only winning four points with returning the first serve. [I] congratulate him.
“For me today is [a] disappointing day. I think I was doing everything right, practising with good motivation, practicing well in general. I had a good result [at the] US Open. I had a good result last week. Today is a tough lose, that’s the truth. [It] was not my day. I am out of the tournament. I am going to work hard for the next tournament.”
Sounds like all the losses are really starting to pile up on Rafa and losing to Mayer is not a “good” loss. The defeat also assures the Novak Djokovic will finish the year No. 1. So congrats to Novak.
Mayer, who called the win the biggest of his career, moves on the play Feliciano Lopez tomorrow in the quarterfinals. The other Spanish lefty dismissed Tomas Berdych 6-4, 6-4.
Andy Roddick is quietly having his best showing in a long time. Roddick rocked Nicolas Almagro and with Nadal out the former No. 1 has a good chance at doing some real damage this week. Of course tomorrow he’ll have to beat David Ferrer in the quarterfinals, but that’s a winable match.
In the bottom half, Andy Murray needed three sets to oust Stan Wawrinka. Murray now meets 23-year-old Australian qualifier Matthew Ebden who upset Gilles Simon. And with Nadal headed back to Europe and a soft draw ahead, a Murray Asian hat-trick is looking very, very likely for the defending Shanghai champ.
“I got myself pumped up right at the beginning of the third set,” said Murray who has won 12 straight matches and 22 of his last 23. “I think it was important. Stan was playing very well. I was trying to control the ball, especially [in the] middle of the second set, I was really struggling. I started dictating a lot of the points with my forehand and trying to get the first strike in ’cause the court is playing very fast. That worked well.”
Alexandr Dolgopolov and Kei Nishkori will clash in the other quarterfinal.
With all the upsets and withdrawals, Murray and Ferrer are the only Top 14 players left in the Shanghai draw.
Tennis Channel again has late night coverage live at 2am ET starting with the marquee quarterfinal between Roddick and Ferrer.
FRIDAY SHANGHAI SCHEDULE
STADIUM start 2:00 pm
 D Ferrer (ESP) vs  A Roddick (USA)
 A Dolgopolov (UKR) vs K Nishikori (JPN)
Not Before 6:00 PM
 F Mayer (GER) vs F Lopez (ESP)
Not Before 8:00 PM
[Q] M Ebden (AUS) vs  A Murray (GBR)
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