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Nadal-Federer Blockbuster No. 38 In Shanghai Final

It is only fitting that the penultimate ATP World Tour Masters 1000 event on the calendar is down to the players who have dominated the tour all year.

World No. 1 Rafael Nadal will attempt to extend his 16-match winning streak Sunday in pursuit of his first Shanghai Rolex Masters title in the final against World No. 2 Roger Federer. Nadal is trying to earn a record 31st Masters 1000 title, which would break his tie with Novak Djokovic at 30 each. A victory will almost guarantee that the Spaniard closes the year with the No. 1 Emirates ATP Ranking for the fourth time, as he would own a 2,760-point lead over Federer. The Swiss seeks to narrow the gap in the race for the year-end No. 1 as well as earn his second trophy in Shanghai, which would give him his 350th Masters 1000 victory.

It will be Roger vs Rafa for the 38th time, as the pair square off for the Shanghai Rolex Masters title on Sunday.
The Nadal-Federer rivalry is being renewed for a 38th time in the first Chinese final between the Top 2 players in the Emirates ATP Rankings since Beijing in 2013.

This is the rivals' fourth meeting of the season, with Federer trying to win his fifth match in a row against Nadal dating back to Basel in 2015. He beat the Spaniard in the final at the Australian Open and the Miami Open, while also defeating him in the Round of 16 at BNP Paribas Open.

ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Titles Leaders

Pos. Player Titles
 1T Rafael Nadal 30
 1T Novak Djokovic 30
 3 Roger Federer  26
 4 Andre Agassi 17
5 Andy Murray 14

Nadal leads their FedEx ATP Head2Head series 23-14 (Federer leads 10-9 on hard courts), but the Swiss has won the past four matches, a first for him in the rivalry. The 36 year old has also captured the past five sets in the matchup, the first time he has done that as well. He says that despite the overall head-to-head record, Nadal has made him a better player.

“I don't want to thank him for that, but he made me maybe rework my game and go back to the practice courts and think about what I could change maybe to become a better player,” Federer said. “I think for that I'm happy about the losses I took. Took them on the chin and kept moving forward. It's nice at this late stage of the career that we still have these matches going on.”

Federer is making his third appearance in the Shanghai final (1-1) and his first since winning the 2014 title (d. Simon). He was also a finalist in 2010 (l. to Murray). Federer is 5-1 in finals this season and is competing in his 143rd final (93-49).

Most FedEx ATP Head2Head Meetings

Novak Djokovic v Rafael Nadal 50
Novak Djokovic v Roger Federer 45
Rafael Nadal v Roger Federer 38
Ivan Lendl v John McEnroe 36
Jimmy Connors v Ivan Lendl 36
Novak Djokovic v Andy Murray 36
Jimmy Connors v John McEnroe 35
Boris Becker v Stefan Edberg 35

Federer’s next title will tie Ivan Lendl for second place on the Open Era titles list with 94 (Jimmy Connors holds the record with 109). He already owns the most Masters 1000 wins with 349 and is No. 3 in Masters 1000 titles with 26 behind Nadal and Djokovic. Federer is 9-1 this season against Top 10 opponents with his only loss coming in the Coupe Rogers final against Alexander Zverev.

Nadal is 14-9 in finals against the Swiss and owns a 12-6 advantage in Masters 1000 tournaments (7-4 in finals). The Spaniard is appearing in his second Shanghai final, his first since the 2009 inaugural tournament (l. to Davydenko). The 31 year old is playing in his 10th final (6-3) of the season, which leads the tour. This is the fifth time the left-hander has appeared in at least 10 finals in a season, the first since 2013 when he reached a career-high 14 finals (10-4).

On Sunday, Nadal plans on focusing on maintaining his own level, which helped him regain the No. 1 ranking this season.

“I’m going to do my thing. I know what I have to do. I know it’s very difficult, and especially in this kind of surface. But the most important thing for me is play at my highest level,” Nadal said. “If that happens, I hope to have my chances. If that doesn't happen, the chances will be much less. But I am playing well, and I am focused on trying to make that happen.”

Source: http://www.atpworldtour.com/en/news/shanghai-2017-final-preview-federer-nadal

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