Fourth seed Rafa Nadal was stunned by Serb Viktor Troicki in an upset-filled Shanghai Masters second round yesterday while Andy Murray breezed past American Steve Johnson and Nick Kyrgios slumped to a listless defeat.
Troicki, ranked 31st in the world, overcame Nadal 6-3 7-6(3) in an hour and 34 minutes to secure his first ever victory in five previous attempts against the 14-time grand slam winner. The unseeded Serb broke twice to seal the opening set before Nadal came back strongly in the second.
The Spaniard saved a match point at 5-4 down but was defeated in the tiebreak. “I played really well,” Troicki said. “I was aggressive, I served well, I hit the ball nice. It was a great feeling on the court playing like this against Rafa Nadal, who is a great champion.”
Chinese fans brandished pictures of Nadal — including one of him in his underwear — but they looked on in dismay as the 14-time Grand Slam champion was well beaten. Afterwards Nadal, now 30 and with a catalogue of injuries to his name, vowed to return to top form by next season, mainly by putting the zip back in his forehand and movement.
“I know what I have to do and I’m going to do it,” scowled the Spaniard, who has had little to smile about at the big tournaments this year. “I’ve got two-and-a-half months until next season starts so I have got two-and-a-half months to put myself at the level I want to be. And I’m confident I’m going to do it.”
Twice Shanghai Masters champion Murray, who claimed the China Open title last week, had no such trouble as he won 6-3 6-2 as he won 70% of second-serve return points. The second-seeded Briton, who scraped through a testing encounter with Johnson at the Rio Olympics in August, also saved the one break point he faced in the first set. He will play Frenchman Lucas Pouille in the third round.
“I felt like I was creating a lot of chances on his serve. I thought I moved well for the first match in new conditions,” Murray told reporters. “I was timing the ball well. I felt like I was controlling a lot of the rallies. Yeah, for a first match after playing pretty different conditions a few days ago, it was good.”
Australia’s Nick Kyrgios lost to Germany’s Mischa Zverev 6-3 6-1 with another controversial display in which he appeared uninterested throughout, landing a series of half-hearted serves and barely moving to meet his opponent’s returns.
The 21-year-old also clashed with spectators before being booed off the court after a match that lasted just 48 minutes. Kyrgios, later apologised on his Twitter account, saying his performance was “not good enough”.
Afterwards Kyrgios, known for his volatile behaviour, admitted “taking the easy way out” and “tapping out a little bit”, saying he was tired after last week’s Japan Open win.
Low points included a child-like lobbed serve which Zverev said reminded him of playing his girlfriend, and walking away from one of the German’s serves as it landed.
Seventh seed Tomas Berdych lost to Marcel Granollers of Spain 7-6(4) 7-6(1), while third seed Stan Wawrinka, the US Open Champion, beat Britain’s Kyle Edmund 6-3 6-4 and Canada’s Vasek Pospisil battled past Grigor Dimitrov 7-5 7-6(2).
Canada’s Milos Raonic beat Paolo Lorenzi 6-2, 6-4, David Goffin beat Benoit Paire 6-1, 7-6 (7/0) and Gilles Simon ousted Chinese wildcard Wu Di 6-2, 6-2.
Men’s singles 2nd rd: Marcel Granollers (ESP) bt Tomas Berdych (CZE x7) 7-6 (7/4), 7-6 (7/1); Stan Wawrinka (SUI x3) bt Kyle Edmund (GBR) 6-3, 6-4; David Goffin (BEL x11) bt Benoit Paire (FRA) 6-1, 7-6 (7/0); Milos Raonic (CAN x5) bt Paolo Lorenzi (ITA) 6-2, 6-4; Jack Sock (USA) bt Feliciano Lopez (ESP) 6-3, 4-6, 6-4; Gilles Simon (FRA) bt Wu Di (CHN) 6-2, 6-2; Vasek Pospisil (CAN) bt Grigor Dimitrov (BUL) 7-5, 7-6 (7/2); Mischa Zverev (GER) bt Nick Kyrgios (AUS x12) 6-3, 6-1; Lucas Pouille (FRA x13) bt Nicolas Almagro (ESP) 6-4, 7-6 (12/10); Viktor Troicki (SRB) bt Rafael Nadal (ESP x4) 6-3, 7-6 (7/3); Roberto Bautista (ESP x15) bt Taylor Fritz (USA) 6-4, 6-4; Andy Murray (GBR x2) bt Steve Johnson (USA) 6-3, 6-2
Viktor Troicki of Serbia celebrates after winning his match against Rafael Nadal of Spain at the Shanghai Masters tennis tournament in Shanghai yesterday. (AFP)