With ranking points at a premium, Andy Murray and David Ferrer meet in a critical clash in Shanghai Thursday as the tour winds toward London. Entering the match just 30 points separate the two former Top 5 players, with the winner jumping ahead of the other in the Race to London.
Murray, a 2-time Shanghai champion, won in Shenzhen and lost to Djokovic last week while Ferrer has slumped of late. The Scot still knows the danger.
“You need to play a high, high level to win against him,” said Murray who leads Ferrer 7-5. “He certainly doesn’t give away many matches during the year. Certainly hasn’t given me any matches when I’ve played against him. In these conditions, if you serve well, you can get free points on your serve, and that can help against someone that obviously returns well. Try and get some free points there. Hopefully play a solid match.”
Roger Federer returns off his magical escape. The Swiss saved five matchpoints in a thrilling third set tiebreak win over Leonardo Mayer. He’ll face Roberto Bautista Agut.
“I think I got unbelievably lucky today,” said Federer.
“Could be my greatest escape thus far,” he said. “I’ve had some good ones over the years, but this one might just top it all because I was literally out of the point at one stage. I had to come up with some shots that were hard to do anyways. But on match point even more so.
“So I feel a bit sorry for Leonardo, I must say, but that’s how it goes. You win some, you lose some.”
Novak Djokovic will look to run his win streak in China to 27 straight against Mikhail Kukushkin. Tomas Berdych will tip off shortly against Ivo Karlovic. With Rafael Nadal out, Berdych becomes the favorite to emerge from the bottom half.
Wednesday saw several top players eliminated. In addition to Nadal who lost to Feliciano Lopez, Jack Sock stunned Kei Nishikori, Milos Raonic retired, Gilles Simon knocked out Stan Wawrinka and Grigor Dimitrov fell to Julien Benneteau.
THURSDAY SHANGHAI SCHEDULE
STADIUM start 1:00 pm
 T Berdych (CZE) vs I Karlovic (CRO)
 A Murray (GBR) vs  D Ferrer (ESP)
Not Before 6:30 pm
 N Djokovic (SRB) vs M Kukushkin (KAZ)
Not Before 8:00 pm
 R Federer (SUI) vs  R Bautista Agut (ESP)
GRANDSTAND start 1:00 pm
[Q] M Jaziri (TUN) vs G Simon (FRA)
Not Before 3:00 pm
J Benneteau (FRA) vs J Sock (USA)
[WC] J Monaco (ARG) vs M Youzhny (RUS)
Not Before 6:30 pm
 J Isner (USA) vs F Lopez (ESP)
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