Shanghai QF preview and prediction: Nadal vs. Dimitrov

Rafael Nadal and Grigor Dimitrov will be facing each other for the 11th time in their careers and for the second time in two weeks when they meet again in the quarterfinals of the Shanghai Rolex Masters on Friday.

Nadal just recently improved to 9-1 lifetime in the head-to-head series when he got the best of Dimitrov 6-3, 4-6, 6-1 in last week’s Beijing semifinals. The Spaniard is 6-1 against the Bulgarian on hard courts and 3-0 overall this season. They also squared off at the Australian Open, where Nadal prevailed 6-3, 5-7, 7-6(5), 6-7(4), 6-4.

Nadal ended up losing the final Down Under to Roger Federer, but he bounced back to capture Grand Slam titles at Roland Garros and the U.S. Open. The world No. 1 has parlayed his momentum from New York into further success on the Asian swing, currently riding a 14-match winning streak that also includes the Beijing winner’s trophy. Fatigue could have been a factor for Nadal in Shanghai, but he needed a grand total of only one hour and 57 minutes to dispose of Jared Donaldson and Fabio Fognini.

“I played a very good match,” the top seed said after beating Fognini. “I don’t know how many mistakes, how many unforced errors (I made), but (it was) very few. And I played very well in all aspects. I have been doing things very well. So…of course, big result, 6-3, 6-1 against a player like him…. Two good matches, for sure today is a very good result for me, and being in (the) quarterfinals of course is great news.”

It is great news for Dimitrov, too, because he is now almost certain to join Nadal at next month’s World Tour Finals. In fact, he will clinch a spot if he pulls off the upset on Friday. The ninth-ranked Bulgarian is 40-16 this year following defeats of two Americans in Shanghai. Dimitrov fought off three match points to outlast Ryan Harrison 3-6, 6-3, 7-6(6) in his opener before taking care of Sam Querrey 6-3, 7-6(3) on Thursday.

This would normally be a good opportunity for the underdog to score some revenge with Nadal coming off a long week in Beijing, but the favorite has looked better than Dimitrov–and everyone else–so far this week. And the lopsided 9-1 head-to-head history is hard to look past.

Pick: Nadal in 2

22 Comments on Shanghai QF preview and prediction: Nadal vs. Dimitrov

  1. M. Cilic is a good player but only once has their match gone to the decider( 3rd set).

    This match screams an under 22.5 games but M. Cilic is a good server and a good player but this matches with are rarely competitive.
    Rafito has 4 wins in a roll and 3 of those wins have not been competitive.

    Statistics say’s R. Nadal to win in 2 sets & under games.
    Stanley say’s M. Cilic might lose but can do better than this, i haven’t decided, Stats or Stan, Stan is sweeter.

    I am a little busy, will talk later.
    Bye bye!

  2. Its Roger’s path to the final is the one opening not for Rafa. Looks like Delpo will not play tomorrow, so it is gonna be a free pass for Roger to the Final. Huge advantage for Roger if Rafa makes it too to the final.

    Rafa has to squabble a win against another giant tomorrow. Just hoping for a Rafa win so the FEDAL will not disappoint even Rafa is obviously tired already.

    Good Luck Rafa on your match tomorrow.


    • why should any Rafan want a gassed Rafa and a fresh Roger for the final? If Roger gets a free pass..I would be so pissed..

      • Nobody wants a gassed Rafa and a fresh Fef for the final! I don’t think that will happen, Rafa doesn’t benefit when he gets walkovers. He likes to play. He is physically fit and healthy and on a winning streak.

        Let’s not make assumptions yet about what will happen in the final. Rafa has to get past Cilic.

      • No one wants Sanju to see a gassed Rafa but he is playing continuously while Roger is taking off in between tournaments. Since Rafa has entered to almost all tournament in sight, the possibility of meeting a well rested Roger is inevitable.

  3. I just watched my recording of Rafa’s match. I cursed a blue streak when he lost that TB! I thought for sure he would close it out in two sets. Missed opportunities. Rafa just let that one go. But all credit to Dimi for playing well and hanging tough.

    I don’t think we need to worry about Rafa being gassed. His first two matches were like practice sessions. At some point he was going to get challenged. Dimi has the game to do it. This may be good preparation for Cilic.

    Rafa is not a china doll. He can take a tough match. I do think he will have to be ready for Cilic on these courts. He did well to hold his serve and not get broken. As well as Dimi played, it was not good enough to beat Rafa.

    Rafa did say something about the conditions playing earlier in this match. I think the more Rafa wins, the better he gets.

    I am looking forward to the semifinal.

    Vamos Rafa!

      • Sanju,

        Rafa has not overplayed! He’s first match was only 54 minutes and his second match was one hour and 2 minutes. Eight minutes longer! Rafa has practice sessions longer than that.

        Rafa is riding the crest of a wave right now. When you are on a winning streak, you feel that you can’t lose.

        We will have to see how the semifinal plays out. Before we worry about Rafa facing Fed, he has to get there!

        Do we really think that Rafa will only have these gimme matches where he barely breaks a sweat? They can’t all be easy ones. He has only had one three set match.

        I think Rafa is so confident now that he is going to hard to stop.

        • Exactly first two matches were really practice ones. And first both have to win their semis . Cilic won’t be easy and so would be Delpo if he is fit for Nadal and Fed. Lets say how it pans out. Irrespective of result, Nadal should be happy and he should cut either Basel or Bercy out of his schedule before WTF.

        • overplayed as in consecutive weeks and its much later in the year unlike the clay season..he has already played 75 matches I think and he is not exactly that to what fed has played..some 45 matches..

          Only good thing is Colic match may not have very long rallies like the Dimi match..the Dimi matches are always tough for Rafa..

          Even if Delpo takes the court..I dont think he will put up much..consecutive 3 setters and the shadow of wrist injury playing in his mind..I expect Fed to wrap that one in straights..

          • See there is a chance Rafa might lose tomorrow as well. I dont know how cilci is playing . Can anyone tell me that ?

            • To me Cilic is Cilic; he can be erratic, one moment he plays well but the next, out of the blue, he would make some uncharacteristic errors. He’s playing well here no doubt, but imo he’s not playing better than Dimi (Dimi could hit his DTL shots from both wings and changed direction of his shots so well, Rafa wasn’t expecting that and had a hard time countering those attacks). Compared to Dimi, who had more varieties in his game, Cilic looked more one dimensional even though his serves when on, could be a problem for anyone.

              If Rafa can get a good read on Cilic’s serves, I think Rafa will beat Cilic; Rafa is serving very well at these two Asian tournaments (his serve was hardly broken), so I think Rafa has an edge over Cilic.

      • Fed fresh as daisy? Fed didn’t look sharp vs Gasquet, unlike when facing Dolgo. I think if a player could force Fed to hit more rallies, Fed would start making errors. Both Schwarzman and Gasquet were able to play longer points with Fed, unlike Dolgo so Fed had to work hard to beat them.

        I also doubt that Rafa would be tired, he could cut short his practice session should he need more rest. If Delpo is fit enough to play, he won’t be an easy opponent for Fed. If Delpo withdraws, Fed no doubt will be well rested but will be short of match play (he’s mishitting some of his shots in the Gasquet match, not looking sharp).

        • Normally I would never favor Rafa over Fed on a court like this. However, Rafa is just playing better fast-court tennis than I’ve ever seen him play, and he’s so confident. Fed, on the other hand, still seems to be searching for his top form. Therefore, if they both make the final, I think I will have to favor Rafa this time. At 36 years of age, it’s starting to look to me like Fed can maybe only play at his top level anymore when he’s had a lot of rest. Not just a couple weeks here and there. People may need to accept that he is just not meant to sustain a high level for a whole season anymore. And that’s ok! What’s he’s already achieved this season at his age is phenomenal. I’m not saying he doesn’t have a chance for his title- he could very well win it. I just feel like I would have to favor Rafa if they meet in the final.

          • As he long as he keeps skipping clay season, I’ll be happy. That way he can keep being as ready as possible for the grass courts.

            • Yeah, I’m with you Benny. As someone who wants both of Fedal to be successful, I think Fed would be best off trying to peak during the grass season. It would be pretty amazing to see him get his own La Decima, on grass, one day. He has already left his mark as the greatest men’s Wimbledon champion ever. Why not aim to try to pass Martina to be the overall most successful Wimby singles champ?

  4. Is Delpo injured?
    I didn’t watch his match, i heard he fell but i think he might be faking it, fear does that to u.

    I am being serious, is Delpo injured?

    I missed someone here, she longer shows up on time, what’s up?

    • Delpo went to a hospital after his match with Vinolas for MRI. Apparently he felt something wrong with his left wrist right after that fall and he needs to consult it to a doctor about the condition of his wrist. According to him, it is up to the doctor;s advice if he will play tomorrow or not.

  5. I agree , Federer should concentrate his effort on the faster surfaces .Id love him to play Wimbledon doubles/mixed.
    Just watched the highlights of Nadal- Dimitrov, as expected Nadal won but it wasn’t easy. The conditions were cooler than usual , which would have helped him.
    But overall, great match and tremendous atmosphere with the local crowd!
    I’m sure we’re all Looking forward to a Fedal final.

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