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Rafael Nadal progressed into the semi-finals of the 2017 Shanghai Rolex Masters on Friday after besting Grigor Dimitrov in their quarter-final matchup, 6-4, 6-7 (4), 6-3.
The tournament’s top seed came into Friday’s quarter-final contest without dropping a set in his two previous outings, but his spotless record was ended as he advanced to tee up a semi-final clash with Marin Cilic.
The Croat did maintain his own perfect set record on Friday after beating Albert Ramos-Vinolas, 6-3, 6-4, and he’ll be looking to add another Spanish conquest to his record when he faces Nadal in Shanghai on Saturday.
Second seed Roger Federer and Juan Martin del Potro will be the favourites for their respective quarter-finals later on Friday as they prepare to face Richard Gasquet and Viktor Troicki in the last eight, respectively.
Read on for a roundup of all the action from the 2017 Shanghai Masters, complete with scores and a look toward what’s in store.
Friday’s Quarter-Final Results
(4) Marin Cilic bt. Albert Ramos-Vinolas: 6-3, 6-4
(1) Rafael Nadal bt. Grigor Dimitrov: 6-4, 6-7 (4), 6-3
(16) Juan Martin del Potro vs. Viktor Troicki: TBD
(2) Roger Federer vs. Richard Gasquet: TBD
Visit the official Shanghai Masters website for a look at the results and schedule in full.
Dimitrov began his bid to upset Nadal in confident fashion, and it wasn’t until after he had saved three break points at four games apiece that he finally conceded serve and his opponent launched a forehand winner down the line.
The Bulgarian showed flashes of brilliance in his attempts to keep the opening set alive, but Nadal capitalised at the first attempt, and the U.S. Open Twitter account noted he was on track to improve an already dominant record against his foe:
US Open Tennis @usopen
.@RafaelNadal is a set away from making it 10-1 against Dimitrov!
He takes the opener 6-4 in their Shanghai QF.
Neither player managed a break in the second set, and Nadal trailed as Dimitrov took some big rallies en route to taking the top seed into a tiebreak. Nadal took three points in succession to begin the showdown as his opponent’s fate looked to be sealed, but Dimitrov shifted momentum by clinching seven of the next eight to level at one set each.
Dimitrov demonstrated the level of play that might have beaten other elite stars, but tennis reporter David Law mused it still wasn’t enough to break Nadal:
Dimitrov playing out of his mind.
8 years of promise distilled into 3 straight stunning backhand winners. Still didn’t break Nadal. 2-3.
In the game immediately after that close call, Nadal dampened Dimitrov’s spirits further with a break of his own to lead 5-2 and serve out the set, although the latter played fiercely in his attempt to upset the favourite.
Earlier on Friday, an imperious performance from Cilic saw him become the competition’s first player to claim a semi-final spot and improve his 2017 record to 39 wins and 16 defeats with a third successive straight-sets win.
The tournament’s fourth seed did see his perfect serving record broken by Ramos-Vinolas, who broke Cilic for the first time in this year’s Shanghai Masters during the second set, although it only delayed his advance into the final four.
Cilic balanced out that stutter by breaking Ramos-Vinolas either side of that lost game to book a 6-3, 6-4 triumph, and thus topped his previous best finish in Shanghai, when he made it to the quarters in 2012.
Flashscores.com showed Cilic hit an impressive 10 aces to his opponent’s five, winning 87 per cent of his first-service points and sealing the victory with a hit to which Ramos-Vinolas could not respond:
Tennis TV @TennisTV
First ＠SH_RolexMasters semifinal for @cilic_marin.
Clinical against Ramos-Vinolas 6-3 6-4.
Nadal and Cilic have met five times in the past, and the Spaniard has won in four of those clashes, per the official ATP World Tour website, the only win for Cilic coming in their first encounter all the way back in 2009.
The one positive for Cilic, however, is that sole victory happened to be a 6-1, 6-3 trouncing in Beijing, their only previous meeting in Chinese territory, holding some hope for the Croat in Shanghai come Saturday’s semi.