Shanghai Flashback: Jo-Wilfried Tsonga survives a bagel against Rafael Nadal



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Shanghai Flashback: Jo-Wilfried Tsonga survives a bagel against Rafael Nadal

In Shanghai 2015, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga advanced to his fourth and so far the last Masters 1000 final. Jo-Wilfried lost the opening set in the first round against Tommy Robredo and dominated sets two and three to escape an early exit.

In the third round, Tsonga stayed on the court for two hours and 45 minutes 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, setting the semi-final clash against Rafael Nadal.

Chasing the first Shanghai title, Nadal barely survived Ivo Karlovic challenge in the second round, 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 of those in set number two.

Tsonga had almost twice as many winners and some 20 unforced mistakes more, 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.

In Shanghai 2015, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga defeated Rafael Nadal in three sets.

Pushing strong on the return, Tsonga secured a break with a backhand down the line winner at 2-2 to move in front, cementing the break with an ace in game six for a 4-2 advantage.

The Frenchman fended off two break chances in the eighth game and held to stay ahead, holding at love in game ten for 6-4. Rafa had the upper hand in set number two, playing on a high level on both 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, fending off three break chances to remain on the positive side of the scoreboard. They both served well in the next seven games after that, with Rafa serving at 5-5 to secure a tie break.

At 30-30, Jo-Wilfried fired a forehand down the line winner for a break chance, converting it when Nadal netted a volley at the net and serving for the triumph after the break. 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.