Monday, November 12, 2007

Shanghai Produces Opening-Round Surprises

Roger Federer's bumpy fall continued in Shanghai last night, where he lost to Fernando Gonzalez in his opening match of the year end championships.

It was an opposite performance than that of Federer's counterpart on the women's tour, Justine Henin, who beat Maria Sharapova in a thrilling Madrid final.

Gonzalez, the underdog, beat Federer to hand the Swiss No. 1 his first back-to-back losses since the spring of 2003, when he lost in the third round of Berlin and then the first round of the French.

Wouldn't it be a shocker if Mr. Fed was to go down in the Round Robin section of this tournament? It would be an unlikely end to a stellar year for Federer, but with all the scandal and upsets that have gone on in tennis this fall, it certainly would fall into the pattern of craziness.

That pattern was avoided by Rafael Nadal in his opening match, as he beat Richard Gasquet in three sets in Shanghai. Novak Djokovic, on the other hand, wasn't as lucky. The Serb lost to grinder David Ferrer, who beat Nadal at the US Open, 6-4 6-4.

The "Warriors" continue round robin play throughout the week before semifinals and finals are played over the weekend.

(The ATP players and their ATP Terracotta Warrior statues. Photo by mikehayes19 via flickr.)

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