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Monday, 10 December, 2018

Nadal full of Eastern promise going into Shanghai

Federer not at his best

World number one Rafael Nadal
1 of 1

Tournament preview

World number one Rafael Nadal increased his lead at the top of the rankings with a run to the China Open final - he takes on Nick Kyrgios in the Beijing decider - and he looks the man to beat at the Shanghai Masters.

Roger Federer, returning to action for the first time since reaching the quarter-finals at the US Open, is seeded second and an obvious contender to pick up his sixth title of the year.

But the Swiss has landed the Shanghai crown just once in five visits and fell at the first hurdle on his last appearance in 2015, losing 7-6 2-6 6-2 to Albert Ramos-Vinolas.

Federer did not play anywhere near his best in New York and is likely to be working towards reaching peak fitness for next month's ATP Tour finals in London.

With doubts over Federer's fitness and Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray and Stanislas Wawrinka absent through injury, it looks like a great opportunity for Nadal to pick up another trophy.

He defeated Grigor Dimitrov 6-3 4-6 6-1 in the China Open semi-finals and is drawn to face the Bulgarian at the quarter-final stage in Shanghai.

Marin Cilic is also in Nadal's half of the draw but has questions to answer after his disappointing 6-7 6-4 6-0 loss to Adrian Mannarino in the Tokyo Open semi-finals where he was the number one seed.

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Tianjin Open preview

There is greater depth to the bottom half of the draw with Federer, Alexander Zverev, Juan Martin Del Potro and Dominic Thiem in with a chance of reaching the final.

Zverev, a losing semi-finalist at the China Open, is one of the brightest young talents around but it may pay to rely on the experience of Del Potro.

The Argentinian was a runner-up at Shanghai in 2013 and will contend if he gets back to the standard he produced during a run to the semi-finals at this year's US Open.

Del Potro was outlasted by Nadal in the last four at Flushing Meadows, losing 4-6 6-0 6-3 6-2, but he has won his last two matches against the Spaniard and his body has a better chance of lasting the course in Shanghai where matches are a best of three sets.

R Nadal
3pts 11-4 Coral
J M Del Potro
1pt each-way 28-1 Coral

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With doubts over Federer's fitness and Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray and Stanislas Wawrinka absent, it looks like a great opportunity for Nadal
E.W. Terms
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