Rafael Nadal, following a loss last week to Grigor Dimitrov in Beijing, was on the order of play at ATP Shanghai 2016 on Wednesday. In a second-round match, Nadal had drawn Viktor Troicki of Serbia. The Spaniard had taken a perfect 5-0 record into the contest against Troicki, however, that record is now 5-1 following a straight-sets loss.
In the biggest upset of the day Troicki, currently ranked 31st in the world, defeated Nadal 6-3, 7-6. The Serb will now move on to face Roberto Bautista-Agut in a section of the draw where Jo-Wilfried Tsonga now looms large. After the loss, Nadal made a slightly odd comment in my view. He seemed to be focused more on the next season than the balance of the current one.
“I need to play my matches, to practice more and just to keep playing,” Nadal told ATP reporters. “I know what I have to do and I am going do it. I have two-and-a-half months until the new season starts, so I have two and a half months to put myself at the level that I need to be. I have the confidence that I’m going do it.”
The reason that the comment is a little odd is that Nadal is still in the running for the year-end ATP World Tour Finals. However, with a focus on being ready to play his best tennis in “two and a half months” arguably he’s thinking more about the South Pacific swing to start the 2017 season.
The only other seeded players that fell on Wednesday were Tomas Berdych and Nick Kyrgios. Kyrgios had won a title at ATP Tokyo just a few days earlier so perhaps he was tired entering Shanghai. He still promises to be a major factor in the ATP Basel draw and the Paris Masters later this season.
Although losing early in Shanghai is a setback, Kyrgios remains in the running for the ATP World Tour Finals. He will need to do very well in both Basel and Paris to claim a spot in the event, something he is capable of doing as he continues to improve.
Other players that advanced on Wednesday besides Troicki included Andy Murray, Milos Raonic, David Goffin, Lucas Pouille, and Jack Sock. Furthermore, Stan Wawrinka defeated British player Kyle Edmund.
Novak Djokovic did not play on Wednesday, but he remains in the draw. The Serb is on the order of play for Thursday as he prepares to face Canadian Vasek Pospisil. That should be a dunk for the World No. 1 as Pospisil has had a terrible season thus far.
Murray, who won ATP Beijing last week, might hit some fatigue problems in Shanghai’s late rounds. He is on the order of play for Thursday as well as he prepares for a tough match against Pouille.
Wawrinka, who won the 2016 US Open in September, is emerging as a major candidate for the title in Shanghai. It’s hard to have confidence in Djokovic given the problems that he has had since the French Open. Furthermore, if Murray does, in fact, have energy problems having played in Beijing last week then that might set the Scot up for an upset – perhaps even against Pouille in the next round. With Nadal, Juan Martin del Potro, and Marin Cilic already out Wawrinka is looking dangerous following his win over Edmund.