Top Seeds Nadal, Federer Advance In Shanghai; Zverev v Del Potro Thurs.
Top seeds Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer both were winners on Wednesday at the Shanghai Masters. Nadal had no issues whatsoever upping his win streak to 13 in crushing Jared Donaldson 6-2, 6-1.
“It was a very quick match in all aspects,” said Nadal. “I think Jared started playing very well at the beginning, serving big, and then hitting very strong from the baseline. Of course, I started trying to play a little bit more safe, without looking for big shots.
“Of course, I was happy to get that break in the 3-2 in the sixth game. It helped me that he made some double faults, two double faults. Then I played some good points, I think. After that I think I played a great match. Not many mistakes.”
Nadal, who has never won the Shanghai title, could all but lock up the No. 1 ranking this week with a title, which would be his seventh of the season.
“If that happens, it will be, I think, a very important achievement for me,” said Nadal. “I will be year-end No. 1 four times in my career, with so many years of difference I think it’s something very difficult. But there remains work to do.”
Rafa now faces Fabio Fognini tomorrow.
Late in the day, Federer opened play against Diego Schwartzman who’s in the midst of his best season. And the Argentine played Federer tough before losing 6-4, 7-6(4).
“I think I served well. I had good concentration. Had good energy, as well, which I think is always important early on in a tournament,” said Federer who improved to 40-4 on the year after his first tour match in over a month.
“I knew going in it was not going to be easy. He’s had a great run in recent weeks and months. I really felt that he was confident. Shaking off misses, no problem. He was serving well. You could see he was taking the right decisions on his groundstrokes.”
Federer is the lone former champion in the field. He’ll next face the explosive Alexandr Dolgopolov who ousted Feliciano Lopez in three sets.
Alexander Zverev advanced after Aljaz Bedene retired down 4-0 with a right knee issue. Zverev’s win sets up a tasty third round with Juan Martin del Potro.
No. 6 seed Grigor Dimitrov survived three match points down 3-6 in the final set breaker to deny Ryan Harrison 3-6, 6-3, 7-6(6). Dimitrov meets another American in Sam Querrey tomorrow.
“I knew Ryan was going to hit a risk or just play a solid point,” said Dimitrov. “I was ready for either or. I think at 5-6 when he served that first serve, I knew he was going to come to the net. I just didn’t know where he was going to play. I had a pretty decent return. I just had to be ready for anything. He missed it. Six-all was a great point for me. I think I hustled through pretty good. I knew on that match point I just had to make that first serve. That was the only thing that was in my head.”
Two upsets of note, Viktor Troicki edged the reeling Dominic Thiem 6-3, 3-6, 7-6(5). Thiem has now lost four straight matches.
And in between the rain drops, David Goffin win streak of nine was snapped as Gilles Simon took down the Belgian.
Tomorrow, Simon faces countryman Richard Gasquet and also Marin Cilic meets Steve Johnson.
THURSDAY SHANGHAI SCHEDULE
STADIUM start 12:00 noon
 S. Querrey (USA) vs  G. Dimitrov (BUL)
 J. del Potro (ARG) vs  A. Zverev (GER)
 M. Cilic (CRO) vs S. Johnson (USA)
Not Before 6:00 pm
 R. Nadal (ESP) vs F. Fognini (ITA)
Not Before 8:00 pm
[Q] A. Dolgopolov (UKR) vs  R. Federer (SUI)
UNION PAY 3 start 1:00 pm
M. Matkowski (POL) / A. Qureshi (PAK) vs  I. Dodig (CRO) / M. Granollers (ESP)
Not Before 2:00 pm
J. Struff (GER) vs A. Ramos-Vinolas (ESP)
G. Simon (FRA) vs R. Gasquet (FRA)
V. Troicki (SRB) vs  J. Isner (USA)
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