Roger Federer may have played his best match of 2017 when he destructed Rafael Nadal in the final of the Shanghai Masters 6-4, 6-3. Federer’s level was unbelievable which brought more gasps out of the crowd than cheers. Nadal was under pressure from the speed and depth of Federer’s shots from the start of the match and Federer’s level never wavered throughout the match.
Timed To Perfection
From the start of the match, Federer’s timing was perfect. He was clipping forehand winners from everywhere; even when he was defending. He was anticipating Nadal’s offense and moving his feet to get to a position where he could go from defense to offense.
A key indicator of Federer’s level is his serve. He was dominant on serve in the final winning 81.8% of the points on his serve and never facing a break point. Nadal was only able to win 8 points on Federer’s serve in the match which goes to show just how clean Federer was serving. Federer also returned extremely well winning 50% of the points on Nadal’s 2nd serve.
Nadal was probably a bit fatigued after being on a 16 match winning streak coming into the final. He won the tournament the week before in Beijing, and that came after his win a couple of weeks before at the US Open. Nadal had a bandage on his knee and has just announced that he will be missing the tournament in Basel due to overuse of his knee.
Player of the Year??
The ATP Awards are coming up soon, and before the Shanghai tournament, I had Nadal as my favorite for POY. But after Federer’s win, both he and Nadal have 6 tournament wins on the year, so the decision for the player of the year will be made in the final tournaments of the season. The ATP Finals in London may turn out to be the deciding factor in who claims the year-end#1 ranking.