If some of the Tour’s veterans had good wins today at the Shanghai Masters 1000, it was, however, a day marked by the great performance of the youngsters, either with great wins or because they illustrated themselves despite the loss. Three of those matches involving the young guns were first round matches, the other being second-rounders, and two of those were nice surprises.
So let’s start with the surprises, and not the least: the wins of Bernard Tomic over Mardy Fish (5) and of Ryan Harrison over Viktor Troicki (11). We know it, these young men are full of talent, enough that some of us see them in the top 10 in a more or less near future, and today, in front of very tough opponents (although Troicki isn’t doing too well at the moment, he remains a top 20 player), they showed why many of us predict them a wonderful future once they’ll have grown up a little.
Harrison defeated Troicki in two sets (6-3 6-3) to reach the second round, where he’ll meet Matthew Ebden, who’s a beatable player for the young American. As for Tomic, he played an incredible match to defeat Mardy Fish, 4-6 6-1 6-4, thus making his first-ever round-of-16 appearance in a Masters 1000 tournament. Tomic’s win over him also hindered Mardy Fish’s quest for a place at the World Tour Finals a little (Fish is right now 6th in the YTD Race).
Milos Raonic also posted a very good win in defeating for the fourth time in as many meetings Frenchman Michaël Llodra, this time in three sets of 6-7(2) 6-2 7-6(5), to access the second round, where he’ll meet David Ferrer (3). This win of the young Canadian over the veteran Frenchman also bore a certain Davis Cup flavour, as the two countries will meet in the first round of the World Group next year. I however doubt that Llodra will play any singles matches then, as there would need to be several injured players for him to do so.
Another youngster, somehow more known and definitely better ranked, I admit, also clinched a win against a tricky opponent, as Alexandr Dolgopolov (12) beat Lukasz Kubot, 6-4 7-6(6). In the second round, it is not Marin Cilic who will be on the other side of the net from Dolgo, but Albert Ramos, who defeated the Croatian 6-3 6-4.
They were defeated, but…
Two other young players caught the attention today, despite a loss. First, Donald Young gave Swiss Stanislas Wawrinka (13) quite a scare, making him work hard to earn a 6-7(5) 7-6(2) 6-2 win over the young American, a match that was sadly not on a show court.
Finally, Grigor Dimitrov showed us once again how spectacular his game is, and how much progress he’s made, coming back from a break deficit in the first set and taking a break lead in the second (which he lost), but making Andy Roddick (10) work very hard for a two-set (7-6(3) 7-5) triumph. One thing that really stayed in my mind from the near-complete set I was able to watch from this match was really the quality and length of the rallies. I must also say that it’s been a while I’ve seen Roddick play like that!
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During the night and tomorrow morning
The second round ends tomorrow with the first matches of Rafael Nadal (1) (vs Guillermo García-López), Andy Murray (2) (vs Dmitry Tursunov), David Ferrer (3) (vs Milos Raonic), and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (4) (vs Kei Nishikori), but also with many other interesting matchups to follow.
Here is the full schedule of play.
For those of you in Canada, the match between David Ferrer and Milos Raonic will be broadcasted live starting at 2:45 AM (EDT) on Sportsnet One, or online on Sportsnet’s Website. This, of course, for those who will be up at that time.