Troicki Stuns Nadal; Pospisil Sets Djokovic Clash
Serbian beats Nadal for first time
The Serbian had never beaten Nadal in five previous attempts, but pulled off the upset as he held his nerve for victory in one hour and 34 minutes.
"I played really well," said Troicki. "I was aggressive, I served well, I hit the ball nice.
"It was a great feeling on the court playing like this and playing like this against Rafa Nadal, who is a great champion. It makes it extra special to beat him for the first time, especially in such a big tournament like Shanghai.
"I'm really glad how I played. Happy how I played. I hope I will continue to do that in the next rounds."
Defeat for Nadal put his bid to qualify for the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals on hold. The Spaniard is currently seventh in the Emirates ATP Race To London, although defeats for No. 9 Tomas Berdych and No. 10 Marin Cilic also in the second round take the heat off.
Nadal threw everything at Troicki to stay in the match, but ultimately the Serbian’s bravery to go for the big shots paid dividends. The Serbian broke twice to seal the opener before Nadal came back strongly in the second set. The Spaniard saved a match point on his own serve in the 10th game with superb defence to retrieve a rifling Troicki forehand. But in the ensuing tie-break, Troicki was always in command and clinched victory with a backhand return winner.
Troicki has a 31-25 match record on the season, highlighted by winning his third ATP World Tour title in Sydney (d. Dimitrov) and finishing runner-up in Sofia (l. to Bautista Agut).
Vasek Pospisil earned a third-round meeting with World No. 1 Novak Djokovic after claiming back-to-back tour-level match wins for the first time this season. The Canadian defeated Grigor Dimitrov 7-5, 7-6(2).
Pospisil is searching for a return to top form, having entered this week with just eight tour-level wins to his name in 2016. But the former Top 25 player has come through qualifying at this ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournament, defeating Ivo Karlovic in the first round before upsetting last week's Beijing runner-up Dimitrov.
Overturning a 0-3 FedEx ATP Head2Head record against Dimitrov, Pospisil prevailed in one hour and 43 minutes. The right-hander relinquished an early break advantage in the first set, but a service break in the 12th game earned him the opener. After saving a break point in the seventh game of the second set, he then dominated the tie-break to seal victory.
"I played very well," said Pospisil. "It was important to play a very clean match today, because Grigor is playing with a lot of confidence right now. It was a great win for me.
"It's been a tough year. Quite a few things were going on. But I feel really happy to be back. I feel like my old self on the court again. My head's in the game and I'm playing well."
Pospisil will look for his first win in four FedEx ATP Head2Head meetings when he faces Djokovic on Thursday.
Qualifier Mischa Zverev will play Marcel Granollers for a spot in the quarter-finals after defeating Nick Kyrgios 6-3, 6-1. The 29-year-old German, older brother of Alexander Zverev, is close to a return to the Top 100 after starting the season at No. 171 in the Emirates ATP Rankings. Two weeks ago, he reached the quarter-finals in Shenzhen (l. to Gasquet).