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Mayer Tops Nadal In Third Round; Finals Contender Berdych Falls

Shanghai, China

Nadal© AFP/Getty ImagesRafael Nadal was outplayed by Florian Mayer on Wednesday.

German Florian Mayer beat World No. 2 and 2009 runner-up Rafael Nadal 7-6(5), 6-3 on Thursday for a place in the Shanghai Rolex Masters quarter-finals. Mayer, the No. 15 seed, required one hour and 48 minutes to oust the Spanish superstar at the Qi Zhong Stadium.

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Nadal saved two set points at 4-5, 30/40 and advantage in a 12-point, 10-minute game. The Mallorcan led 4-2 in the tie-break, but Mayer remained rock solid on serve to clinch the 64-minute opener. Mayer dropped just seven points on serve.

Mayer broke serve in the seventh game of the second set and went on to advance to his second ATP World Tour Masters 1000 quarter-final of the year. In May, he reached the last eight at the Internazionali BNL d'Italia in Rome (l. to Murray).

"It's a really nice feeling," said Mayer. "He's such a great competitor on court. For sure it is the biggest win in my career. I cannot actually believe it right now. But the tournament goes on tomorrow so I have to stay focused for the rest of the week.

"I just am maybe a little bit fitter mentally and physically [than before]. Maybe that's two per cent or three per cent more. I'm serving very well. Mix it up with serve and volley."

The 28-year-old German won his first ATP World Tour title at the BRD Nastase Tiriac Trophy in Bucharest (d. Andujar) last month. He has an 8-27 lifetime record against Top 10 opponents and improves to a 42-23 match record on the season.

Nadal, runner-up to Nikolay Davydenko in the 2009 title-match, was bidding to win his 20th ATP World Tour Masters 1000 shield this month. He drops to a 66-13 season mark.

"He played really well," said Nadal. "I didn't. I felt that I was not playing bad from the baseline. But my return, when he was serving the first serve, was terrible tonight. I only won four points in the whole match [on his] first serve. So I cannot expect win a match when the opponent is playing well, is serving well, is doing very good serve and volleys, returning, and only winning four points with returning the first serve. [I] congratulate him.

"For me today is [a] disappointing day. I think I was doing everything right, practising with good motivation, practising well in general. I had a good result [at the] US Open. I had a good result last week. Today is a tough loss, that's the truth. [It] was not my day. I am out of the tournament. I am going to work hard for the next tournament."

Mayer will next play another Spaniard, Feliciano Lopez, who knocked out in-form Tomas Berdych, the No. 6 seed and a contender for Barclays ATP World Tour Finals qualification.

Lopez kept his nerve to beat the Czech, currently No. 6 in the Battle for London, 6-4, 6-4 in 82 minutes. Last week, Berdych lifted his first title in nearly two-and-a-half years at the China Open in Beijing.

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