He's made me a better player - Federer relishing another Nadal showdown

He's made me a better player - Federer relishing another Nadal showdown

He's made me a better player - Federer relishing another Nadal showdown

World number one Rafael Nadal squeezed past Croatian Marin Cilic with a 7-5 7-6 (3) victory on Saturday to set up a mouth-watering clash with Swiss Roger Federer in the Shanghai Masters final.

Chalk held in the top half of the Shanghai Rolex Masters draw as top-seeded Rafael Nadal meets fourth-seeded Marin Cilic in the semifinals.

The quick conditions also contribute to high projected hold percentages, with Rafa having an edge due to his marginally better return data, but with both players expected to hold more than the ATP mean we can look at trading strategies to incorporate this.

Maria Sharapova swatted aside Swiss qualifier Stefanie Voegele 6-3, 6-1 in just over an hour at the Tianjin Open on Friday to reach her second semi-final since returning from a 15-month doping ban.

Del Potro ended up breaking Troicki's serve in that fifth game and prevailed 4-6, 6-1, 6-4. It proved decisive as Nadal won three games in a row from 2-2 to effectively seal the match.

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Del Potro, whose previous wrist injuries have threatened his career, took a nasty tumble at 2-2 in the deciding set and most of the weight of his body ended up on his outstretched left hand, bending it painfully backwards.

More realistically, Federer will keep his focus on winning a sixth title of 2017 as he continues his renaissance after knee surgery last year had hinted that his best days were behind him. Moreover, the Shanghai surface suits his power game and Cilic is taking full advantage of this.

These two players have played five times so far in their careers. In Beijing, he defeated Dimitrov in a three-set semifinal. I am still very happy that I came back at a very good level. However, the numero uno, who is showing hunger for more in what has been a dream season, will start as favourite. Riding a 15-match winning streak into the Shanghai semifinals, Nadal explains his hard-court success this season simply: consistency.

Varying his serving location and applying his net game helped Nadal snap a three-year hard-court title drought winning his third US Open title. For the third time this year and the second straight week, Nadal met Grigor Dimitrov.

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