Nadal loses 3-set thriller to Tsonga at Shanghai Masters

Shanghai, Oct 18 (IANS/EFE) Spain’s Rafael Nadal came up short in his bid to reach his second straight final, falling 6-4, 0-6, 7-5 to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the semi-finals of the Shanghai Masters hard-court event.

Nadal took the initiative at the start of the match on Saturday, but Tsonga got a service break in the fifth game and rode that advantage to victory in the first set.

The Spanish world No. 7 battled back with a vengeance, however, in the second set, putting constant pressure on the Frenchman’s service games and converting three of his nine break-point opportunities.

The third set was decided by the slimmest of margins, but Tsonga’s 75 percent first-serve percentage in the decider gave him the edge.

The 29-year-old Spaniard has struggled through a frustrating season in which he did not capture any of the big events on the tennis calendar and failed to reach a Grand Slam semi-final for the first time in more than a decade.

He played better last week in Beijing, where he lost to Serbian world No. 1 Novak Djokovic in the final.

On Friday, the 14-time Grand Slam champion trounced Swiss world No. 4 Stanislas Wawrinka 6-2, 6-1 in the Shanghai Masters quarter-finals for his most convincing win over a top player in more than a year.

Next up for Tsonga in Sunday’s final will be Djokovic, who routed British world No. 2 Andy Murray 6-1, 6-3 in Saturday’s second semi-final.

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