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October 11, 2009

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Home » Sports » Tennis

Rafa gets unfavorable draw

TOP seed Rafael Nadal was handed a tough task at the 2009 Shanghai ATP Masters 1000 when the draw was made at the Qizhong Tennis Center yesterday.

With the top eight seeds receiving a first-round bye, the Spaniard, however, will need to quickly get into his stride as his second-round opponent will be either Croat Ivo Karlovic, who at 6 feet 10 inch is the tallest player on tour, or American James Blake, who reached the final at the same venue in 2006 when Shanghai hosted the season-ending Tennis Masters Cup (now known as the ATP World Tour Finals).

Nadal will go into the penultimate Masters 1000 tournament of the year in good heart after reaching the semifinals in Beijing - his first outing since he made the last four at the US Open. Victory here would enhance the Australian Open champion's chances of overtaking Roger Federer to end the year as the world No. 1.

His path to the title won't be easy.

If he gets past the first hurdle, 14th seed Tommy Robredo will likely be waiting in round three with another Spaniard, seventh seed Fernando Verdasco, or No. 11 Gael Monfils of France seeded to be his quarterfinal opponent.

Beyond that, newly crowned US Open champion Juan Martin Del Potro of Argentina, coming off a first-round defeat in Tokyo, or Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, seeded fifth, could be waiting in the semifinals.

The bottom half is dominated by second seed Novak Djokovic, who will be confident of success having won the Masters Cup in Shanghai last year. The Serb could play Latvian Ernests Gulbis in round two, while another Frenchman, eighth seed Gilles Simon, is seeded to face him in the last eight.

American fourth seed Andy Roddick opens his campaign against either Swiss Stanislas Wawrinka or a qualifier.


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