Nikolay Davydenko proved he is back as an elite player in the ATP tour by taking out top seed Rafael Nadal at the Shanghai Masters final 7-6 (3), 6-3. Davydenko’s 36 winners to Nadal’s 9 for the match overall illustrated the Russian’s game plan for attacking Nadal on all corners.
In the first set, after jumping out to a 4-2 lead, Davydenko missed three down the line forehand break point chances to allow Nadal back in at 3-4. Nadal broke back at 4-4 and appeared to be grinding his way back into the match. Nadal had a set point on Davydenko’s serve at 4-5 but an ill-timed lob put away by the Russian squandered that lone chance for the Russian. Nadal’s tactic of staying far behind the baseline did not deter Davydenko who again found his favorite down the line shot again in the tiebreaker which he eventually won.
The second set stayed on course until at 3-2, Davydenko again hit several return winners at extreme angles allowing him to break to go up 4-2. Nadal tried to put pressure on the Russian when he served for the match at 5-3, but it was a little too late as a Nadal forehand sailed just over the baseline sealing the win and third Masters title for the Russian.
Davydenko’s win puts him in seventh place in the ATP Finals Race and with him likely playing every other event until the end of the year, his place in London is all but assured.
In WTA finals action, Samantha Stosur finally won her first singles title after five tries by defeating Francesca Schiavone at Osaka 7-5, 6-1. Yanina Wickymayer of Belgium proved her U.S. Open run was no fluke by winning the Generali Ladies Linz event over Petra Kvitova 6-3, 6-4. The win also puts “Wicky” into the WTA top 20 for the first time in her career.