As there were only two first-round matches on Sunday, last night/this morning marked the official beginning of the Shanghai Masters 1000, penultimate Masters 1000 of the year, and we cannot say that it was a surprising day. In fact, the only “surprise” came from Bernard Tomic, who defeated Kevin Anderson in three grueling sets, 7-6(5) 6-7(4) 6-3, converting only one out of 12 break points en route to the victory.
So except for Tomic’s win, no surprises, as the only 2 seeded players in action, Andy Roddick (10) and Fernando Verdasco (16) both qualified for the second round, the former showing a much better game than last week in a 6-2 3-6 6-2 win over Yen-Hsun Lu and the latter unsurprisingly demolishing Zhe Li 6-2 6-2. In the second round, Roddick will face Grigor Dimitrov, who defeated Marsel Ilhan 2-6 6-1 6-4. As for Verdasco, he will face his countryman Juan Carlos Ferrero, who passed in two against Mikhail Youzhny, 7-6(4) 6-4.
With the wins of Tommy Robredo (7-6(3) 7-6(4) over Stéphane Bohli) and Guillermo García-López (6-4 6-3 over Somdev Devvarman), we’ll have three all-Spanish encounters in Round 2. On top of the Verdasco – Ferrero match (Wednesday), Robredo will face Nicolás Almagro (7) tomorrow and Garcia-López will Wednesday be the first rival of Rafael Nadal (1). In fact, only one Spaniard lost today: Pablo Andújar, who was defeated 6-4 6-4 by Matthew Ebden.
Two of the matches I thought would be interesting only half were. If the Santiago Giraldo – Ivan Dodig meeting fulfilled its promises, the Colombian recuperating from a tough first set only to raise his game and clinch a 1-6 6-3 6-4 win, it was a little different as far as the David Nalbandian – Ernests Gulbis matchup was concerned.
We must say that it’s mostly because the Latvian was particularly erratic (46 unforced errors) and almost never took advantage of the chances a patient Nalbandian offered him, the latter winning in two sets, 7-5 6-4. It’s not that the Argentine was attentist, all the contrary! But Gulbis made so many errors that Nalbandian did not have to be as aggressive as usual, thus not only playing a good match, but also one with far less errors (26) than usual. Nalbandian will meet Florian Mayer (15) tonight.
Donald Young and Albert Montañés also won, the latter saving four match points in a 6-2 5-7 7-6(5) win over Mikhail Kukushkin. As for Donald Young, he defeated Mao-Xing Gong 6-1 6-4.
Packed schedule tonight
The first round will end during the night, and the second round will start as well, which gives us another packed schedule and many good matches to follow.
Among the show court matches to follow (live only online in Canada, as Sportsnet One only shows tape-delayed tennis this week) are the Janko Tipsarevic (9) – Feliciano López matchup (at 2AM EDT), as well as Jürgen Melzer (14) – Ivan Ljubicic (same time), Nalbandian – Mayer, Roddick – Dimitrov, Milos Raonic’s first-rounder (vs Michaël Llodra) and Mardy Fish (5) – Bernard Tomic.