Shanghai Flashback: Rafael Nadal bagels Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and still loses



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Shanghai Flashback: Rafael Nadal bagels Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and still loses

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga reached his fourth Masters 1000 final in Shanghai 2015. Jo-Wilfried lost the opening set in the first round against Tommy Robredo and dominated sets two and three to escape an early exit. Tsonga stayed on the court for two hours and 45 minutes in the third round against another Spaniard, toppling Albert Ramos-Vinolas in three sets to reach the quarters.

In a similar encounter, Tsonga took down Kevin Anderson 7-6, 5-7, 6-4 to set the semi-final clash against Rafael Nadal. Chasing the first Shanghai title, Nadal barely survived the Ivo Karlovic challenge in the second round before defeating Milos Raonic and Stan Wawrinka in straight sets to enter the last four.

In their 12th meeting on the Tour, Jo-Wilfried scored the fourth triumph over Rafa, beating the Spaniard 6-4, 0-6, 7-5 in two hours and 15 minutes. It was their first clash since Monte Carlo 2013, and the Frenchman produced an impressive comeback, starting all over in the decider to bring the victory home and set the clash against Novak Djokovic.

Thanks to that second set, Nadal won three points more than Tsonga, fending off eight out of ten break chances and earning three breaks from 11 opportunities, all in set number two. Tsonga had almost twice as many winners and some 20 unforced mistakes more than his opponent, staying in touch with Nadal in the more extended exchanges to secure the victory with a late break in the final set.

Rafa felt in the opening game and faced two break chances, fending them off with service winners to bring it home and avoid an early setback.

Rafael Nadal scored a bagel against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in Shanghai 2015 and lost.

Pushing strong on the return, Tsonga secured a break with a backhand down the line winner at 2-2 to move in front and cemented the advantage with an ace in game six.

The Frenchman fended off two break chances in the eighth game and held to stay ahead before bringing the set home with a hold at love in game ten. Rafa had the upper hand in set number two, playing on a high level on serve and return to leave Jo-Wilfried behind and set a decider.

Both players held at love at the beginning of the third set, with Nadal performing an impressive escape at 1-1 after fending off three break chances to remain on the positive side. They played well behind the initial shot in the next seven games, and Rafa served at 5-5 to secure a tie break.

Tsonga fired a forehand down the line winner at 30-30 for a break chance and converted it when Nadal netted a volley at the net. Serving for the victory, Tsonga held at 30 to seal the deal and celebrate the first victory over Nadal in almost four years, seeking the third Masters 1000 crown against Novak Djokovic.