Here’s everything you need to know about the Sunday final:
Time: 4.30pm local time ie 2pm IST
Channel in India: Sony ESPN/Sony ESPNHD
Live Streaming information: Sony Liv
Head-to-head: Nadal leads 23-14
Head-to-head in 2017: Federer leads 3-0
Last meeting: Miami Masters 2017 final in April - Federer beat Nadal 6-3, 6-4
Nadal’s titles in 2017 (6): Monte Carlo Masters, Barcelona, Madrid Masters, French Open, US Open, China Open
Federer’s titles in 2017 (5): Australian Open, Indian Wells Masters, Miami Masters, Gerry Weber Open, Wimbledon
Nadal’s best performance in Shanghai Masters: Runner-up in 2009
Federer’s best performance in Shanghai Masters: Champion in 2014
Nadal’s road to the final:
Round of 64: Bye
Round of 32: Beat Jared Donaldson 6-2, 6-1
Round of 16: Beat Fabio Fognini 6-3, 6-1
Quarter-final: Beat Grigor Dimitrov 6-4, 6(4)-7, 6-3
Semi-final: Beat Marin Cilic 7-5, 7-6(3)
Federer’s road to the final
Round of 64: Bye
Round of 32: Beat Diego Schwartzman 7-6(4), 6-4
Round of 16: Beat Alexandr Dolgopolov 6-4, 6-2
Quarter-final: Beat Richard Gasquet: 7-5, 7-4
Semi-final: Beat Juan Martin del Potro: 3-6, 6-3, 6-3
Could we be anymore privileged as tennis fans? A year ago, when Federer and Nadal were recuperating from their respective injuries, their much fancied showdown seemed a distant dream.
Today, we are on the cusp of their fourth meeting of the year in a season that has been absolutely dominated by the two men, who now has 35 Grand Slam singles titles between them.
Federer was the one who made a more blazing start to the season and looked totally impeccable as he captured titles at the Australian Open, Indian Wells and Miami. After pulling out of the clay season, he returned like the champion he is, claiming titles on the lustrous grass of Halle and Wimbledon.
His US Open campaign, however, did not go well with his back injury flaring up during the warm-up event in Canada. Federer is seeking his first title since his humongous eighth Wimbledon crown and is looking to narrow the gap in the race for the Year-End No. 1 ranking.
A loss to Nadal would all but seal the Spaniard’s Year-End No. 1 ranking for the southpaw would then be 2,760 points ahead of the Swiss.
Nadal, in contrast, found his devastating form on clay after finishing on the losing side in his first three finals of the year, all of which were on hardcourts with one being the Australian Open. Hitting his stride on his favourite surface, he created history by successfully completing the much-coveted ‘La Decima’ or ten-title haul at each of Monte Carlo, Barcelona and the French Open.
After stumbling at Wimbledon and the US Open warm-up tournaments, he regained his sublime form at the US Open and is yet to drop a match since then, having built a fabulous 16-match winning streak.
A title in Shanghai would not only extend his winning run further but would also break his tie with Novak Djokovic and give him a record 31st Masters crown.
But the Spaniard has not beaten Federer since the 2014 Australian Open and their last four meetings have all gone the way of the 19-time Grand Slam champion.
The Swiss maestro looks to have fully recovered from the back problem that plagued him during the summer and is raring to go. Having won at Shanghai before, he does have the advantage on the fast hardcourts of China.
Fatigue too could play in a role in Nadal’s case for this would be his 10th match in two weeks.
That said, Rafa has looked quite impressive and did not concede any service game this week until being broken twice by Cilic in the semi-finals. All of his 2017 meetings with Federer were before he started racking up titles.
A winning streak always gives the Spaniard an extra boost of confidence. It remains to be seen if it can help him get his first win over the Swiss in more than three years.