Mover of the Week
Switzerland’s world #2 Roger Federer may not have gone into the Shanghai Masters as that many people’s favourite. After all, he had looked in shaky form and health at the US Open, eventually bowing out in the quarterfinals at the hands of Juan Martin del Potro. Even as the tournament progressed Federer’s form did not seem that impressive. He dismissed Alexandr Dolgopolov in the third round but was made to work by Schwartzman in the second round and Gasquet in the quarterfinals. The big Argentine del Potro took the first set off him in the semifinals, and may well have had the beating of him again were it not for a wrist problem. None of that seemed to be cause for confidence going into the final with Nadal who was on a 16-match-long winning streak.
But the legendary Swiss has been defying expectations all season and picked up his third Masters title of the year and 27th overall with a dominant display. He broke Nadal with a superb backhand pass in the first game of the title match and didn’t look back. Winning over 75% of his first serve points he wrapped up the first set 6-4. Nadal fought as hard as he could but was simply outplayed in every department by the rampant Swiss. The break came in the fifth game of the second set, and Federer forced another when Nadal served to stay in it, to lift the trophy.
For now, the win isn’t enough to lift him above Nadal into top spot. But, it does keep the possibility of Federer overhauling his great rival and finishing as the year-end #1 alive. It’s only a slim chance, but Nadal famously struggles on the indoor hard courts. It’s statistically his least successful surface, and he has never won at either of the two biggest events in Paris and at the ATP World Tour Finals. Federer, however, has. If he can pick up some more titles before the close of the year he might just do it.
Loser of the Week
Last year Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut had the week of his life in Shanghai. He made a run to the semifinals where he faced the then world #1 Novak Djokovic. Admittedly the Serbian was ailing badly by then, but Bautista Agut was impressive all the same in defeating him. In the final against Murray, he could do nothing to stop the Scot’s charge towards world #1, but it was surely a very satisfactory week for him. It went rather less well for Bautista Agut in 2017. Coming up against the talented young Korean Hyeon Chung in the first round he was well beaten. Falling 4-6 3-6 Bautista Agut will be looking back on a frustrating trip to China’s second city. In fact, he has won just four matches in the three tournaments he has played since the US Open.
The result of his run of relatively poor form is a nine-spot tumble in the rankings. He now sits at #22, and may not have the opportunity to climb back into the top twenty before the end of 2017. That would leave him with a troublingly low seeding going into the Australian Open. All the more so as Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray and Stan Wawrinka present an extremely dangerous trio of floaters in addition to the established top ten. Good performances from the Spaniard are certainly in order then, and he will hope to begin the turnaround in his form on the Tour’s return to Europe.
It was another good week for Marin Cilic as he looks to secure his grip on one of the remaining spots at the World Tour Finals to be held at the O2 Arena in November. Indeed, by virtue of Zverev’s early loss Cilic overtook him in the rankings to reach a career high of world #4. With Andy Murray missing through injury Cilic could conceivably reach the top three before the close of the season. That being said he does have a number of points to defend in Paris. Juan Martin del Potro’s also earned him a return to the top 20 at world #19, a jump of 3 spots.
Bulgaria’s Grigor Dimitrov returned to the top eight after making it to the quarterfinals (lost to Nadal). Cilic overtook him in the Singles Race, but he is still looking good to qualify into London. He certainly has a healthy lead over Pablo Carreno Busta in ninth position. And with Djokovic and Wawrinka still in the upper reaches of the Race but confirmed to not be competing, Dimitrov may, in fact, only need to finish above Sam Querrey. Considering his lead over the American is the better part of 1,000 points, that should be achievable. It was also good news for Dominic Thiem who returned to the top six this week and saw his participation at the World Tour Finals confirmed. His form has tailed off somewhat of late, but his ranking is at least moving in the right direction.
- Rafael Nadal, 10465 points, no change
- Roger Federer, 8505 points, no change
- Andy Murray, 5290 points, no change
- Marin Cilic, 4505 points, moves up one place
- Alexander Zverev, 4400 points, drops down one place
- Dominic Thiem, 3935 points, moves up one place
- Novak Djokovic, 3765 points, drops down one place
- Grigor Dimitrov, 3590 points, moves up one place
- Stan Wawrinka, 3450 points, drops down one place
- David Goffin, 2855 points, no change
- Pablo Carreno Busta, 2855 points, no change
- Milos Raonic, 2600 points, no change
- John Isner, 255 points, moves up three places
- Sam Querrey, 2525 points, moves up three places
- Kei Nishikori, 2475 points, drops down one place
- Kevin Anderson, 2470 points, drops down one place
- Jo Wilfried Tsonga, 2285 points moves up one place
- Tomas Berdych, 2230 points, moves up one place
- Juan Martin del Potro, 2225 points, moves up four places
- Nick Kyrgios, 2045 points, moves up one place
- Jack Sock, 2005 points, drops down one place
- Roberto Bautista Agut, 1935 points, drops down nine places
- Albert Ramos Vinolas, 1925 points, moves up two places
- Gilles Muller, 1920 points, drops down two places
- Lucas Pouille, 1780 points, drops down one place
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