After their appearance in the final of The Championships, Wimbledon, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal have both qualified for the year-ending Masters Cup, held annually in Minhang, Shanghai.
At the all-grass court tournament held about two weeks ago, number one in the world, Federer defeated Nadal, number two in the world, in a thrilling five set match, 7-6 (7), 4- 6, 7-6 (3), 2-6, 6-2, to win his fifth straight championship. Their Wimbledon final, along with their other stellar performances this year, have earned both of them a coveted spot among the eight players that will participate in the Masters Cup. Even though the year isn’t close to being over, Federer and Nadal have amassed enough points to qualify for the year-ending championships, a testament to their joint dominance of the men’s ATP tour.
At last year’s event, Roger Federer defeated James Blake, of the United States, 6-0, 6-3, 6-4. Although Blake played well, Shanghai fans weren’t able to enjoy the much anticipated clash between the two giants last year. James Blake upset Nadal in early round action, resulting in an unexpected clash between Federer and Nadal in the semifinals, which Federer won in straight sets. It was the last time that the two have met before the final of a tournament.
Upon listening to the news of their qualification, Federer and Nadal had this to say:
“I look forward to returning to Shanghai to defend my Tennis Masters Cup title. Winning there was a perfect ending to last season and I love playing in China,“ said Federer, the winner in 2003-04 and 2006.
“I am very happy to have qualified for the Masters again this year,” said Nadal. “This was one of my goals for the year and I have managed to do it pretty early so that’s great. I enjoyed very much playing in Shanghai last year and I am really looking forward to be back there and try to improve the semis I did against Roger. I know it is not going to be easy. I think this is one of the most important events and one of the most difficult to win since from day one you face a Top 10 player. No mistakes are allowed.”
The top-ranked Bryan Brothers were the first doubles team to qualify for the doubles competition that will be held in conjunction with the singles tournament. The remaining six singles spots and seven doubles spot will be determined later this year. Next year will be the last year that the Masters Cup will be held in Shanghai before it moves to London in 2009. In its place, Shanghai will host a Master Series tournament as part of the series of tournaments that determines the finalists for the Masters Cup.
Tennis Masters Cup Shanghai (大师杯塞)
Qizhong Tennis Stadium (上海旗忠森林体育城网球中心)
5500 Yuanjiang Road, Minhang district (元江路5500号, 闵行区)
November 11-18, for tickets online go here, or call (86 21) 962288
Picture from tennis.com.