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

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

    • Out of 10 meetings, R. Nadal has only defeated G. Dimitrov twice in straight sets and those straight set wins were on clay.

      G. Dimitrov has won a set in their last 4 meetings, Dimi defeated Rafa in straight sets in Beijing(2016).
      I wasn’t impressed with Dimitrov in his 1st match in shanghai, he defeated R. Harrison in 3 sets but stepped it up against S. Querrey.

      I would love to see G. Dimitrov defeat Rafa not because i hate Rafito, i like Nadal a lot but since you guys love to make unnecessary noise, belittle the wins of those who have defeated R. Nadal by making unfair & biased excuses, i want nadal to win ok cos R. Federer will be waiting 4 him.

      Your love,
      Stanley.

      • Considering Fed has looked a little bit lack lustre, I, too, hope they both make it to the final. Fed has been avoiding Nadal since the clay season, hope he has nowhere to hide in China.

        Vamos Rafa!

        • Nadline’s comment needs an award “the worst comment of the year” i am being polite when i say it’s the worst.

          Nadline how can you say R. Federer is avoiding R. Nadal after all that he has done to nadal this year.
          Are you licking toads again?
          Someone told me a few years ago, if u lick a toad you will get high and probably die.

          My fear is that Nadal might lose his semifinal or quarterfinal’s match, i truly want him to make it to the finals cos i want a Fedal, 3-0 is not a enough 5-0 is what i need.

          Talk soon.

        • To be honest, half of me wants to have a Fedal Final, and the other half not. Of course I hope Federer would win on the same way you want it for Rafa, but the Spaniard is playing his best tennis on hard while Roger is not exactly at his peak level.
          However, the current dynamics can change. Rafa might lose some momentum going to the final, having to face Dimitrov and probably Cilic.

    • Vamos Rafa!
      We all want you 2 win 2day so that you can meet Roger Federer, please don’t disappoint us, we love U.
      Another Fedal baby, let’s make it 5-0 b4 the end of the season.

      Be calm, be focused, be confident, be strong, be brave, Rafa!
      Vamos Rafito.

  1. Rafa is serving well but he couldn’t break Dimi’s serve yet as Dimi is also serving very well.

    Rafa has a chance now, and yes, he breaks and is now up 5-4. Vamos!

    • luckystar, do you do running commentary as a profession? You seem to be good at it!lol

      Rafa, win one more set to set up a juicy SF with “Fed the Goat”. The world has been waiting to see this showdoon since the 2016 AO.

      Be calm, be focused, be confident, be strong, be brave, and be aggressive, Rafa!

      Vamos Rafa!

  2. Rafa has won first set! I catch myself thinking about the number of GS Rafa could have won only if he serve was what it is now!!

    And yes, Grigor is,serving and playing well

  3. I feel Rafa is playing from too far back and Dimi knows it, Dimi is moving Rafa around and then hits his FH and BH DTL when Rafa isn’t/wasn’t expecting that.

    Rafa needs to up his aggression to finish this in straight sets.

  4. Rafa has to move into the court and not playing so far back; he’s allowing Dimi to hit his DTL shots at will!

    Come on Rafa, please move forward and attack!

  5. Rafa not expecting Dimi’s DTL shots at all! Come on Rafa, please move forward and force the issue, don’t just counterpunch!

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