From the moment the draw came out, Nadal fans quickly realized that he had the toughest half of the draw. He got a break in his first match and easily dispatched of the American, Jared Donaldson; however, his next opponent was the dangerous Italian, Fabio Fognini.
Nadal and his team know that on any given day, Fognini can defeat him; it’s not a matter of if but rather a matter of Fognini’s mental state on that day. When the Italian is invested, he’s dangerous. Today, Nadal never gave him an opportunity to be dangerous; he was aggressive in his attack and used the angles effectively to neutralize Fognini’s power. Although Fognini had chances to break, Nadal was able to serve his way out of trouble. The Spaniard won 6-3, 6-1 and got his tenth victory over the Italian to set up another showdown with Grigor Dimitrov.
Dimitrov has always given Nadal trouble, perhaps because he has so many weapons in his arsenal plus his mobility and flexibility is exceptional. What also helps is his all court game and his ability to hit with pace that catches Nadal off guard, especially on his forehand side. Of their ten previous encounters, only three were won in straight sets. Thus, expect tomorrow’s match to go the distance. Dimitrov is primed for revenge after losing last week in the semifinals in Beijing. The Bulgarian is extra motivated as he is hoping to go far in the draw to gain valuable points to secure a coveted spot in the ATP Tour Finals next month.
Nadal has never won in Shanghai, in part because the draw is stacked; however, I am more inclined to believe it’s because he struggles with his grip on the faster surfaces and his spin is also less effective. It’s the reason why as great as he is, he has never won an ATP Finals title.
SOURCE OF IMAGE: serveandrally