Shanghai R2 previews and predictions: Nadal vs. Donaldson, Goffin vs. Simon

Rafael Nadal will try to keep his hot streak going when he faces Jared Donaldson during second-round action on Wednesday in Shanghai. Speaking of hot streaks, David Goffin had captured titles in back-to-back weeks as he prepares to go up against Gilles Simon.

(1) Rafael Nadal vs. Jared Donaldson

The U.S. Open through November is sometimes Nadal’s worst stretch of the year. Not so much this time around. Nadal is in the midst of a 12-match winning streak with titles at the U.S. Open and China Open. En route to the Beijing winner’s trophy, the top-seeded Spaniard saved two match points against Lucas Pouille right off the bat before making easier work of Karen Khachanov, John Isner, Grigor Dimitrov, and Nick Kyrgios.

Up first for Nadal at the Shanghai Rolex Masters on Wednesday is Donaldson, whom he has never faced. The 20-year-old American has played the best tennis of his life from start to finish in 2017, with 22 of his 33 career ATP-level match victories coming this season. Donaldson’s Asian swing consists of a quarterfinal performance in Chengdu (lost to eventual champion Denis Istomin in a third-set tiebreaker), a three-set loss to Tomas Berdych in Beijing, and a 6-7(7), 6-4, 6-4 defeat of Pablo Cuevas on Monday in Shanghai. This should be competitive with Nadal likely fatigued to an extent, but it takes something super special to beat the world No. 1 these days.

Pick: Nadal in 2 losing 8-10 games

(8) David Goffin vs. Gilles Simon

Goffin has won nine consecutive matches and two straight titles heading into Shanghai. The 10th-ranked Belgian is 12-1 overall since the U.S. Open and his only loss during this incredible stretch was a 9-7 in a third-set tiebreaker decision (versus Benoit Paire in Metz). Although the competition was not overly impressive in either Shenzhen or Tokyo, Goffin also scored a huge Davis Cup victory over Nick Kyrgios to help the Belgians reach the final against France.

Simon, who is unlikely to make France’s Davis Cup final roster, will be Goffin’s Wednesday opponent. The head-to-head series stands at 1-1, with Simon prevailing 6-7(6), 7-5, 6-2 on the grass courts of Queen’s Club in 2015 before Goffin got the job done 3-6, 6-2, 6-1 last year in Miami. At 32 years old, Simon is just 15-22 this season and has plunged to 47th in the world. He benefited from a favorable first-round draw this week and took care of Chinese wild card Yibing Wu 6-3, 6-4 on Monday. This, however, is likely a nightmare matchup for the veteran at this point in time. Goffin is a younger, faster, and more offensive version of Simon. Fatigue may be a factor, but Goffin cannot afford to slow down–not at a Masters 100 tournament, at least–with World Tour Finals qualification very much in play.

Pick: Goffin in 2

42 Comments on Shanghai R2 previews and predictions: Nadal vs. Donaldson, Goffin vs. Simon

  1. Ricky, i got the same picks as you.

    Nadal in 2 losing 8-10 games

    Goffin in 2 over Simon.

    Simon struggled to win in rd 1 against a 17 year old Chinese teen.

    I think it is a no brainer.

  2. LOL … my guess is, you are THINGKING (praying would be most aptly) that Jared will beat Rafa right Stanley? Not a crime at all matter of fact, I enjoy the so called show…Stanley Eating Crows A Lot Lately…haha

    • Very funny! Enjoy it while you can, RF is back baby, i can always count on him instead of all this chokers.

  3. Goffin looks like he’s about to lose the match. He’s playing B2B2B tournaments, not going far here in Shanghai.

      • Good point. I overlooked how close it is between the group scrambling to qualify. At the moment he’s well placed but so he will need to do well at the tournaments he plays between now and then to be sure of his place.

  4. Rafa you are suffocating the young lad. Ease up a bit your grip and let him enjoy playing in Shanghai.

    Rafa 6-2 first set.

  5. Rafa takes the 1st set 62.

    Jared started well but couldn’t keep it up. He’s got a good serve.

    Vamos Rafa!

  6. YEEESSSSS!!….Alhamdulillah!!Sensational perfomance from Rafa once again!!..

    Nny!!…R U HAPPY???LET’S SCREAAAAMMMMM!!….WOOOHOOOO!!…Hehehe..sorry guys!can’t help it!!

    • MA,

      That was simply sublime from Rafa! He is on fire!


      Rafa, you go!

      I am now rethinking my belief that he should stop playing and rest! I think when a player is really on top of his game, then he needs to play! Rafa has so much confidence now! He is seeing the ball do well and everything in his game is clicking.

      If Rafa is committed to play Basel then maybe he skips Paris.

      But Rafa is healthy and playing some of the best pure tennis I have seen from him, especially in this part of the tennis year!

      Rafa. You are the Man!!!

  7. Blink and it was all over 🙂

    It can be tricky playing an opponent for the first time particularly when they have a good game like Donaldson has.

    • Don’t over celebrate, a storm is coming and he has a name but i will let U guess.
      What’s the name of the storm?

      Hint 1: one of his names starts with an R and the other with an F.

      Hint 2: he has defeated Rafito thrice this year, 1 Grand Slam, 2 masters, 2 finals in less than 3 months.

      Hint 3: he is the G.O.A.T, the king of the tennis, out of respect for Rafito & others, i would say RF is one of the best cos Rafa, Novak & others are amazing.

      Hint 4: we all know he will win this tournament.

      Hint 5: he is humble just like me.

      Hint 6: know one has won more GS than he has.

      Hint 7,8,9 & 10: i am tired, my fingers are hurting lol!

      We all know who he is, his name and his skills, please don’t deny it or you will be… Lol!

      Take care everyone.

      • Oh my God!!…I can’t believe what i saw from rafa this afternoon!!…Mark Petchey said “That was arguably even better than the sort of tennis he put on the court in Beijing to be honest”…

        So,to celebrate that i have to scream once again!…1..2..3..WOOOOOOOOOOOOHOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!….Oppss!..sorry Stanley if u got deaf by my scream!..I will scream more gentle & more ladylike next time!!..hehehehehawhawhaw!!

        • Mira i need ear surgery and you are going to pay 4 it or…

          Please don’t do that again ok?
          Roger Federer won 1..2..3..WOOOOOOOOOOOOHOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!….Oppss!..sorry Mira, U are still paying.

          Honestly Rafa is good, Congrats to him but a storm is still coming and we all know who he is right?

          Don’t pretend you don’t know what’s coming, i can see your face, you are sweating and shaking, stop looking around there are no cameras in your room or is there one?

          • Hey Stanley!!…sorry for damaging your ears okay?I hope my scream don’t damage your brain as well Stanley!…Err..thank u for the congrats….Rafa is AMAZING right Stanley??Woot!woot!

            • When you said woot!woot! Were you dancing?

              You damaged my ear and U are dancing that’s not cool, all you can say 2 me is sorry, will sorry heal my ear?

              Will woot!woot! Pay the doctor’s?

              Are you paying or not?
              Cos i want to call 911, malay. is not too far and you can’t hide 4ever.

              Woot!woot! To you back.

    • Why shouldn’t he play Shanghai? It’s a Masters tournament that he would probably love to win for the first time. If he is going to skip a tourny, I would say it should have been either Beijing or Basel. He shouldn’t care about 500 level tournaments that are played the week directly before a Masters. I guess Beijing is a good way to warm up before Shanghai, and Rafa always plays his best when he’s winning a lot of matches, so I get it in the sense. But I am surprised that he’s playing 5 tournaments in 7 weeks. That is a serious amount of tennis, especially if he goes deep in all of them. If he ends up at least making the final of Beijing, Shanghai, AND Basel, then I would consider it very bad for him to play Paris. And that would seem foolish to me, as if you’re going to skip one it should be a tournament that is only worth 500 points. If he were able to win at least 2 of Shanghai, Paris, and WTF, that would significantly boost his chances of keeping the number one ranking at least through Wimbledon next year. I would think that the WTF would be his biggest priority now that he’s pretty much secured year end #1…

    • Bear in mind that Rafa actually LOVES to play tennis and enjoys these tournaments when not tired or injured. If he goes deep here he may well rethink his schedule. I believe he has a commitment in Basel – Rafa hates breaking his commitments almost as much as he loves playing – but he’s skipped Paris before.

  8. I think Rafa wants to continue playing because:

    1) he’s playing very well now, full of confidence and physically fit;
    2) he wants to get as many points as possible to secure YE no.1 asap so that he can concentrate on winning the WTF without worrying about the YE no.1 ranking.

    If Rafa wins both Shanghai and Basel, he will secure the YE no.1, even if Fed is the losing finalist in both and even if Fed is winning both Paris and WTF! Given Rafa’s form now, it’s possible that he wins both Shanghai and Basel ( yes even. Basel, when in his worst season of 2015, he could make the final there!) See the importance of playing (and winning) Shanghai and Basel?

    • R. Nadal won’t win another title especially if the storm is playing.

      No, no, no more trophies, the king is back.

    • luckystar, I luckily feel the same as you!

      Rafa, now don’t let us down. You are winning all the Tournaments until the year end especially Shanghai and Basel to celebrate Christmas being the No.1 and make us all happy ! I am betting bigger on you now. Take care of us RaFANS!

      Vamos Rafa

    • I mean it’s his first match since US Open and it’s a pretty quick surface. Just look at his first match at this tournament in 2014 and 2016. Not easy to play a clean match when you haven’t played in a while and are playing on a quick surface. Good thing for Roger is it is the kind of surface he can adjust to better than most.

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