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Shanghai Masters 2013: Novak Djokovic And
Rafael Nadal Destined For Finals Clash
Heading into the men’s semifinals at the 2013 Shanghai Masters, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal are once again in position to face each other in the final.
The two top men’s players have already squared off five times in 2013, three of which occurred in a final. Djokovic has been bested three times, though he did manage to stave off the King of Clay a week ago in the final at Beijing.
It seems at this point that no other players are capable of matching their exceptional play throughout the course of an entire match. Both men advanced into the semifinals after getting thoroughly tested.
Nadal prevailed in a 20-minute tiebreak at the end of his first set against the always feisty Stanislas Wawrinka on Friday. Once he’d finally broken Wawrinka‘s will in that first set, however, he went on to dominate the second, winning the match 7-6(10), 6-1, per the ATP World Tour:
Djokovic—the defending champion at this event—had an even tougher match in the quarterfinals against France’s Gael Monfils, who pushed the Djoker to the limit after winning the first set.
The Serbian champ bounced back nicely, however, taking the next two sets comfortably to win the match 6-7(4), 6-2, 6-4.
Afterward, Djokovic talked about his early struggles; ” Inexplicably, I started serving quite bad, but not many unforced errors. It’s just sometimes that you start off slowly and you’re not feeling the ball as much. Today was a very physical match and very intense…Sometimes I was even surprised with the balls that he’s getting back. “
But despite their early struggles, both Nadal and Djokovic found ways to prevail—just like they nearly always do.
Heading into the semifinals, both men face favorable matchups.
Nadal will take on Juan del Potro for a chance to reach the final, while Djokovic will take on jo-Wilfried Tsonga.
Nadal has owned del Potro over the course of their careers, earning an 8-3 record against the Argentinian. Del Potro hasn’t beaten the Spaniard since the 2009 U.S. Open.
Tsonga hasn’t claimed victory over Djokovic since 2011 when the Serbian withdrew from the ATP World Tour Masters in Paris. You have to go all the way back to the 2010 Australian Open to find the last time Tsonga beat Djokovic in a contested match.
Barring a huge surprise (or two), both stars should emerge from their semifinals matches with a win, setting up a sixth meeting between them this year. Should they meet up in the final, tennis fans around the world will be keen to tune in and watch the masters ply their trade.