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

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

  1. Rafa is just too defensive, preferring to counterpunch! Not going to work as Dimi is serving very well and hitting very well too!

    Vamos Rafa!

  2. Rafa could’ve wrapped this up in two sets but made those ‘stupid’ errors! Even if Rafa wins this, he really needs to up his level against big serving Cilic!

  3. Rafa’s aggressiveness kept decreasing in set 2 until he reached the level where Dimi was better.

    He needs to improve here in the 3rd.

  4. Ediot 0.0001,

    Stop being obsessive with me, please get a hobby.
    I want R. Nadal to win but Grigor is doing well, he is playing better than R. Harrison & F. Fognini.

    Ed251137 plzzz respect yourself, let’s disagree on predictions or other stuff’s, agree when we can, have a nice conversation but don’t take this path let’s enjoy tennis while we can cos the season will soon be over and after this year I might be gone cos some of u guy’s can’t handle the truth, jokes etc, but if you want me to stay don’t be shy guy’s you can let me know because I like u guys as well, I just don’t like some deceptive, bias etc reasonings.

    Eddy, just by looking at your profile picture I can tell that you are a handsome guy, please don’t act like an ediot.

    G. Dimitrov won a set, I told you guy’s, just read my 1st comment on page 1.
    I still want my Rafito to win, vamos Rafa!

    I want another Fedal.
    #4-0

    Ed, I apologize 4 the ediot OK, let’s have a friendly conversation ok, friends agree, disagree, agree, disagree, up & down, down & up, right & left, left & right but at the end they are sincere & honest(same thing right), faithful but more importantly they tell each other the truth, nothing but the truth even if it hurts, there are many examples but no time.

    Vamos Rafa, please win.

  5. Rafa has the toughest QF opponent here among all the top players; no wonder he has to fight so hard.

    Dimi is getting used to Rafa’s game here having trained with Rafa and played him twice this year. Rafa really must up his aggression and break Dimi’s serve here.

    • Exactly. Rafa was leading in the TB at 4-2 but after the changeover, he just lost concentration and then made all those mistakes.

      The margin is so slim that one or two points would determine winning or losing a set or a match! I’m just glad Rafa wins this match but Rafa needs to up his level vs Cilic; he can’t just stay way back and counterpunch. I hope he beats Cilic in straight sets and gets ready for the final.

      This was an early match for Rafa, after playing two consecutive evening matches so perhaps he needed some adjustments. Dimi OTOH had already played a few afternoon matches prior to this, so he was used to the conditions.

  6. Rafa looked a bit tired towards the end. He played an early match today so hope he can get some rest and be ready for tomorrow.

    He has played quite a lot lately!

    Well done for another amazing victory. He has now won 15 matches in a row!

    • I fear he will be gassed and tired vr. Fed should not get a gassed out Rafa like he got in ao final . Fed is daisy fresh 🙂

      Neither gasquet or potro or triocki will make Fed break a sweat. I think Fed will dispatch potro in straights like he did earlier in IW or Miami and an upset like USO isn’t happening.

      I just knew it instinctively that dimi will create trouble today and was also prepared for an upset.

      • Fed did break sweat vs Gasquet. Fed not looking sharp today but Gasquet as expected couldn’t take advantage.

  7. RaFANS, start the celebrations, now! Rrrrrr…Ruf, Ruf,Ruf…tough,tough,tough…Rafa has won beating Dimi and has blasted into the SF!lol

    Did I hear the firecrackers being fired off in Mallorca?lol

    Vamos Rafa

  8. Olalala, routine 3rd set 6-3 for Rafa.

    onto Semifinals.

    Ricky’s prediction at the start of tournament of having dimi over rafa didn’t happen. No more kind of cinderalla story of saving match points except Rafa so far, isn’t Stanley?

  9. Thank God Rafa wrapped up the match. My nerves would not have been able to take another TB.

    Vamos Rafa. Keep on trucking.

  10. Dimi is becoming a pain in the butt for Rafa. All 3 matches this year have gone the distance .

    I fear Rafa will be gassed now and either cilic or Fed will take him out . How long was this match for ?

  11. I’m always very nervous watching Rafa plays on non-clay surfaces. When I saw Dimi beating Querrey here, I knew Rafa would be in for a tough match!

    Dimi is playing well this season, except for a period of time mid season when he was knocked out early in a few tournaments. I think winning Cincy this year does give him the belief that he’s good enough for big things ahead. He’ll most likely qualify for the WTF this year, good for him.

    • Lucky…what do you think about rafa vs cilic and Fed?the excess energy spent today was not worth it. Did he spend 3 hours today ?

      • No, only two plus hours. Fortunately he spent very little time in his first two matches here so I think he should be fine physically.

        I think if Rafa plays more aggressively instead of counterpunching, he should beat Cilic. We’ll talk about Fed when Fedal make the final.

  12. Rafa played well but almost lost his serve in the 3rd set.
    All my predictions came through in this article & in the daily page.
    1) Over 21.5 games.
    2) G. Dimitrov to win a set i.e plus 1.5 sets.
    3) R. Nadal to win & over games, i did not pick him to win directly or in straight sets because his odd were low & Rafito hasn’t defeated Grigor in straight sets except on clay twice.

    I want R. Nadal to defeat M. Cilic because i want Federer to have some fun, M. Cilic might cause some problems because he is a good player and is fresh.
    Nadal’s 3 sets win might affect him but i doubt it, he is a professional and had easier opponents in his 1st & 2nd match, Cilic’s matches/opponents weren’t easy maybe except his QF.

    R. Nadal is leading M. Cilic in the H2H 4-1, 4 wins in a roll.
    Cilic won their 1st match and it was in china hmm… Just thinking, don’t get twisted.

    Vamos i don’t know, ok Rafa, i demand a Fedal.
    #4-0

    Talk later.

    Q: if i decide to stop coming to Tenngrand next year, will any of u miss me, especially rafans?
    Please answer, it’s important.

      • Isn’t it obvious, i wanna know how much i am loved by rafans.

        Ed won’t you at least miss me a little bit?
        I know i don’t agree with you guy’s a lot on tennis but that’s because you are wrong & bias sometimes, i understand as fans we are all bias but sometimes u guy’s take it to a different level.

        Which set( 2 or 3) do you think Rafa will defeat M. Cilic in?

        Rafa better be careful because if M. Cilic brings his A game Tenngrand will be on fire.

  13. Rafa played a decent match, nothing spectacular, he could have won in two but made some unnecessary errors in that unfortunate TB. Well, Dimi kept going for his shots, made some great winners and deserved to win a set playing like that! However, Rafa is so strong mentally and bursting with confidence so it was just a matter of Rafa’s will to push a bit harder to get that break of Dimi! And that’s what happened! It’s on Rafa’s racquet and it will be so against Cilic as well!

    Rafa is playing well! We have to give some credit to Dimi for playing good match! But this Rafa is very hard to beat!

    Vamos Rafa!

  14. “It was a very tough match,” said Nadal. “I think both of us, we played at a very high level of tennis. The conditions, of course, have been different today than my two previous matches. I think [it was] a great battle between two players who are playing all the time very focused, very intense points all the time. I think both of us served very well during the whole match, so yeah, it was decided on just a few balls, and anything can happen.”
    When asked about playing Cilic, Nadal said, “He always is very dangerous opponent, and I think this surface, this court helps him. It’s a very fast court. He’s able to go for the shots from the baseline. It will be a tough one. I know that I need to be very focused with my serve again, and I need to play aggressive and don’t let him play from comfortable positions. If not, I will be almost dead because he is going to go for the shots.”

    • Ha, it seems I’m reading exactly how Rafa is/was feeling/thinking about the match – he said the conditions was different from his previous two matches; the match was decided by a few points; and he needs to play aggressive vs Cilic in the SF!

  15. Of last 8 matches in Beijing and Shanghai, Rafa lost serve only against Dimi in Beijing semis. Am I right ? Serve doing really well, but I thhink he will be gassed tomorrow.

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