Juan Martin del Potro restores full power to see off Rafael Nadal at Shanghai Masters

 

shanghai

Juan Martin del Potro has never quite rescaled the heights he climbed with his 2009 US Open victory, but the 25-year-old Argentinian underlined here yesterday how close he is to breaking back into the elite group of players who have monopolised the sport's major honours in the last four years.

Del Potro's thumping 6-2 6-4 victory over Rafael Nadal in the Shanghai Rolex Masters took the world No 5 into the third Masters Series final of his career, securing his place in the season-ending Barclays ATP World Tour Finals. It was his first win in five meetings with Nadal since he beat the Spaniard in the semi-finals en route to his triumph at Flushing Meadows.

In today's final Del Potro will face Novak Djokovic, who beat Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-2 7-5. Both finalists will be defending impressive winning runs. Djokovic is unbeaten in his last 19 matches in China, while Del Potro has won nine matches in a row during the current Asia swing, including the Tokyo title last weekend.

Nadal, who had no answer to the bludgeoning power of Del Potro's ground strokes, reclaimed the world No 1 ranking six days ago. This was only the second time in 15 tournaments he has failed to reach the final and was just his fifth defeat since returning from injury in February.

The Spaniard had not dropped his serve in 28 games en route to the semi-finals but was broken twice in a row as Del Potro raced into a 4-0 lead. Nadal held on in his next two service games, but Del Potro served out for the first set, completing the job with an ace.

Combining thunderous attacking shots with outstanding defence, Del Potro made the only break of the second set in the third game. Having secured victory after an hour and 45 minutes with a service winner, the Argentinian did a dance of joy.

Djokovic was in command from the start of the other semi-final, taking a 3-0 lead before claiming the opening set in only 34 minutes. Tsonga, whose performances this week have improved his chances of making the field for London, put up more of a fight in the second set. The Frenchman retrieved a break after going 4-2 down but dropped his serve for the fifth time at 5-6, Djokovic converting his second match point with a big forehand winner.

Jamie Murray and John Peers, who are pressing for a place in the eight-team doubles field at next month's World Tour Finals, were beaten 7-6 7-6 by the Spaniards David Marrero and Fernando Verdasco in the semi-finals.

The Scot and the Australian, who have won three titles this year and were runners-up in Tokyo in their first appearance at a World Tour 500 event, were playing their first Masters Series tournament together. They can still qualify for London but will need to make up more ground in the final three weeks of the regular season.

Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor