Ramos-Vinolas Targets Another Shanghai Upset Of Federer
For a player who tends to shine most brightly on clay, Albert Ramos-Vinolas has produced some of his best results on the hard courts of the Rolex Shanghai Masters. The Spaniard defeated Marin Cilic in opening-round action on Monday, his second time defeating the Croatian at this event, and now looks to a night session showdown on Tuesday with second seed Roger Federer.
Ramos-Vinolas’ 2015 second-round victory over Federer in Shanghai is the one he and his team still consider the most memorable of his career. The left-hander outlasted then- World No. 3 Federer 7-6 (4), 2-6, 6-3 for his first win over a Top 10 player. The victory boosted his self-belief and made him realise he can beat anyone when he’s at his best.
"I’ve got nothing to lose," Ramos-Vinolas said. “I’m aware my win over Roger in 2015 won’t be a factor when we play. It was simply a win over a great player, one of the best in the sport’s history. All I can do is go out there and perform my best.”
Shanghai is one of two ATP Masters 1000 events in which Ramos-Vinolas has reached the quarter-finals or better. The other is the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters where, in 2017, he defeated familiar foe Cilic in the quarter-finals before losing to fellow Spaniard Rafael Nadal in the final.
Jose Maria Diaz, coach of Ramos-Vinolas, was especially pleased with how Ramos-Vinolas lifted his game during key moments in his win over Cilic.
“Marin’s serve was excellent as usual, but Albert did a fine job getting it back into play and then forcing Marin to hit one more shot during rallies,” Diaz said. “That was the difference. Marin was doing his best to claw back into the match at the start of the second set and was pumping himself up, but Albert stood firm and his serve held up under pressure. As soon as Albert saw his chance to break Marin’s serve, he seized it.”
But can the Spaniard repeat success when he and Federer meet again on Tuesday? While Ramos-Vinolas might be more reserved about his chances, coach Diaz is confident in his pupil’s ability to pull off the upset.
“Why shouldn’t I be?” Diaz said. “We’ve defeated him here before. I say this with respect, but Albert is going out there to inflict as much damage as possible in order to win. We have very little to lose and much to gain. We’re coming to win.”
If his recent form is any indication, Ramos-Vinolas is peaking at just the right time to spring the upset. After a difficult start to the season, resulting in a drop from the Top 100 of the ATP Rankings for the first time since 2014, the Barcelona native regained his stride by reaching the semi-finals in Bastad in July. He then took the title in Gstaad (d. Stebe) and finished runner-up in Kitzbühel (l. to Thiem).
Ramos-Vinolas’ fondness for China is also reflected with his semi-final finish two weeks ago in Zhuhai, which included a win over Gael Monfils. Coach Diaz believes that if the Spaniard can maintain his current form, his clash with Federer will be worthy of prime-time viewing.
"Albert has been playing high-level tennis the past few weeks," Diaz said. “He competed very well in Zhuhai and clinched some solid victories… Getting to Shanghai early allowed us to acclimate. He’s very comfortable here.”