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Verdasco Upsets London Contender Monaco; Hewitt Beaten

Shanghai, China

Verdasco© Getty ImagesFernando Verdasco now has a 4-6 record against Juan Monaco.

Fernando Verdasco dented Juan Monaco’s chances of qualifying for the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in London next month with a 6-4, 6-2 victory on Wednesday in the Shanghai Rolex Masters second round.

Verdasco improved to 4-6 lifetime against seventh seed Monaco in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series with victory in 85 minutes. He won 39 of his 55 service points and converted three of his seven break point opportunities.

Nine days ago, Monaco won his fourth ATP World Tour title of the season at the Malaysian Open, Kuala Lumpur (d. Benneteau). He drops to a 38-17 match record on the season and is currently No. 12 in the South African Airways ATP Rankings Race To London.

Radek Stepanek, a quarter-finalist three years ago (l. to Davydenko), lost just 10 of his service points to beat fellow ATP World Tour veteran Lleyton Hewitt, a wild card entry, 7-5, 6-1 in 86 minutes. It was Stepanek’s first win in four meetings (1-3) over 31-year-old Hewitt.

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The No. 105-ranked Hewitt, a two-time year-end World No. 1 in 2001-02, came away with one of his biggest career triumphs in Shanghai, winning the Tennis Masters Cup back in 2002 (now known as the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals).

When asked about his 2002 success in Shanghai, Hewitt said, “It's a long time ago. It was a very special memory for me. I held on to the No. 1 ranking again at that tournament and obviously finished it off by winning the tournament against quality players.

“For me to come back to Shanghai is fantastic every time. This is only the second time I've played it as an [ATP World Tour] Masters [1000] event. It's one of my favorite tournaments of the year. The organisation is first class. It's fantastic for the players." 

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© Kate Whitney Lucey

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