Nadal, Federer on course as Wu exits

Local hope Wu Di falls in the second round of the Shanghai Rolex Masters while Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer notch imperious wins to reach the third round.

Roger Federer of Switzerland in action against Diego Schwartzman of Argentina during their Shanghai Rolex Masters second-round match at the Qizhong Tennis Center in suburban Minhang District on October 11, 2017.

Wu Di failed to live up to expectations, losing his second-round singles match at the Shanghai Rolex Masters in just 48 minutes to world No. 45 Steve Johnson on Wednesday while Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer resumed their battle for the year-end No. 1 ranking with imperious victories to reach the third round.

Wu’s match did not start until 8:30pm and was moved to an indoor court at the Qizhong Tennis Center in suburban Minhang District due to continuous rain that lashed the city.

Johnson was obviously the more experienced compared to his Chinese opponent, managing to control the pace of the match by firing powerful forehand returns to avoid rallies. Wu was broken in the sixth and eighth game to lose the first set 2-6.

The 233rd-ranked wildcard Wu could not find a way to tame his American opponent the rest of the way as he struggled with Johnson’s strong serves, losing the second set 1-6.

“He was slicing the ball, which made it difficult for me to control the pace. Therefore, I kept repeating the same mistakes today,” a dejected Wu said after the match. “Today, my serves were not as strong as they were in the previous two days.”

Wu said he was still happy with his performance this year. “Losing one match doesn’t take away all the previous efforts. The important thing is to learn things from these games. I think I need to improve my service  speed and become more flexible at key points like when the score is at 30-15 or 40-30,” the Shanghai native added.

Wu’s journey at this year’s tournament is not yet over. He and partner, 17-year-old Wu Yibing — who won the junior singles and doubles titles at the US Open last month — will take on Austrian Oliver Marach and Croatian Mate Pavic in a second-round doubles clash today.


Top seed Rafael Nadal of Spain celebrates after beating American Jared Donaldson 6-2, 6-1 in the second round of the Shanghai Rolex Masters on October 11, 2017.

Elsewhere, top seed Nadal extended his winning streak to 13 matches with a 6-2, 6-1 demolition of American Jared Donaldson before world No. 2 Federer, to the delight of his sizable Chinese fan club, got the better of Argentina’s Diego Schwartzman 7-6 (4), 6-4.

Nadal, who leads Federer by 2,370 points going into the home straight of a season in which the two old rivals have shared out the game’s biggest prizes, was unstoppable against Donaldson and needed only 54 minutes to prevail.

“It was a very quick match in all aspects,” Nadal, bidding to end a year on top for the fourth time in his career, said.

“If the year-end ranking happens, it will be, I think, a very important achievement for me.”

He last finished the year as world No. 1 in 2013.

Federer shows no sign of giving up the chase but had to battle hard against Schwartzman — letting slip a break in the first set to get dragged into a tiebreak.

The 36-year-old Swiss always had an extra shot in his locker though and, having taken the opener, broke serve straight away in the second set to move towards victory.

He finished off the contest with his 14th ace, setting up a third-round clash against Ukraine’s Alexandr Dolgopolov.

“It was a good win, very happy with my first match,” Federer said. “I knew he was dangerous. I could have closed the first set out earlier but I started the second set very well.”

Spaniard Nadal, who like Federer has won the Shanghai title once, will face Italy’s Fabio Fognini next.

Belgian Eighth seed David Goffin’s hopes of qualifying for the ATP World Tour Finals suffered a blow when he lost 6-7 (4), 3-6 to Gilles Simon of France, while sixth seed Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria had to save match points on the way to beating American Ryan Harrison 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 (6).

Seventh seed Pablo Carreno Busta also went out, losing 5-7, 5-7 to fellow Spaniard Albert Ramos-Vinolas.

Special Reports