As the ATP season winds down, there are still some heavy trophies to lift including this past week at the Shanghai Masters where Hubert Hurkacz emerged as champion.
In the final, Hurkacz faced a tough test in No. 5 seed Andrey Rublev and was victorious by a competitive score of 6-3, 3-6, 7-6(8).
“It was such a battle," Hurkacz said after the match. "Especially emotionally. I had a match point and Andrey hit an amazing serve and then he had a match point and then I had some match points. It was back and forth and such a tricky match. Andrey was playing some great shots. I was trying to respond. It was one of those matches and I kept believing and I am super happy with how I managed at the end.”
Shanghai is the second Masters 1000 title of Hurkacz’s career with the other coming at the Miami Open in 2021. The Polish player has now won an impressive seven of his eight career appearances in ATP Finals. With the title this past week, Hurkacz now moves up to No. 11 in the men’s rankings.
Hurkacz proved that nice guys can indeed finish first, as he is one of the most genuinely well-liked players on the ATP Tour among many fans, media and his fellow peers as well. In fact many tennis pundits have questioned whether or not Hurkacz’ pleasant demeanor has been a detriment in his chase for success at the highest levels of the sport.
Esteemed Sports Illustrated writer Jon Wertheim joined the Tennis Canada podcast, Match Point Canada, this week and had the following to say on Hurkacz and his progress in Shanghai.
“He’s a really nice guy. I think sometimes that can bleed over to his tennis. It seems as though he doesn’t quite have that gear that says, ‘I’m not leaving this court as anything but a winner.’ But this is an absolute concierge-level player. The fact that he just won, beating Rublev for the title, is a really good sign. There are all sorts of players we can point to like Ivan Lendl of Kim Clijsters who had a hard time mentally, and once they sort of crossed that Rubicon, they were good. Maybe this will be a turning point, this title.”
Rest of the Field
Elsewhere in the draw there were plenty of upsets that saw the likes of Carlos Alcaraz and Daniil Medvedev, the top two seeds, both fall early. Alcaraz went down in the round of 16 to veteran Grigor Dimitrov, while Medvedev was beaten in the third round by eventual semifinalist Sebastian Korda.
Shanghai was an excellent outing for Dimitrov, who made his first Masters 1000 semifinal since Monte Carlo in 2022. He’s now up to No. 16 in the rankings and at the age of 32 is still a formidable foe.
Korda had himself a great week too. Aside from taking out the World No. 3 Medvedev, Korda dispatched quality opponents like Francisco Cerundolo and the rising Ben Shelton (and his 17 aces!). It was a career-best showing at a Masters 1000 event for Korda, who previously had only once made the quarter-finals of such a tournament in Miami in 2021.
Read also: Swiatek Bounces Back for Beijing Victory
Other players who had a solid week with their results included quarter-finalists Nicolas Jarry, Ugo Humbert and Hungary’s Fabian Marozsan who saw a 26-position increase on the ATP.
Finally, two-time Shanghai champion and legend of the sport Roger Federer made an appearance in Shanghai and was honoured on Centre Court with an Icon Athlete Award. Federer was champion in Shanghai in 2014 and 2017.
With Denis Shapovalov and Milos Raonic both on the mend, there was a lone Canadian in action in Shanghai.
Regrettably, it was another opening-match loss for Felix Auger-Aliassime. The 23-year-old was defeated in a 3-hour, 21-minute match by Marton Fucsovics 7-6(3), 6-4, 3-6. Auger-Aliassime caught fire last year around this time when he reeled off three consecutive tournament victories in Antwerp, Florence and Rotterdam. While still currently ranked 17th on the ATP, he’s due to take a significant tumble if his recent struggles continue.
Auger-Aliassime also fell in the opening round of the doubles draw with partner Jiri Lehecka, defeated by NBO doubles champs Jean-Julien Rojer and Marcelo Arevalo.
The doubles title was claimed by the seventh-seeded team of Marcel Granollers and Horacio Zeballos who defeated fourth seeds Rohan Bopanna and Matthew Ebden 5-7, 6-2, 10-7 for the championship.
It was the first final for Granollers and Zeballos since they made it to the title match at Wimbledon earlier in the summer and their first triumph together since Halle in 2022. It is their fifth Masters 1000 title as a tandem in their career.
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