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Del Potro and Haas join Shanghai crock list

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Originally published on: 26/02/10 11:47

Juan Martin del Potro became the latest high-profile player to withdraw from the Shanghai Masters 1000, further fueling criticism of the length of the ATP season.

The US Open champion retired from his second-round match while trailing Jurgen Melzer 7-5 2-1 with a wrist problem that flared up during the first set.

Tommy Haas also retired injured from his match earlier in the day, joining Andy Roddick in quitting the Asian event mid-match.

And Del Potro, who suffered with wrist tendinitis earlier in the year, pulled up in his match against Melzer to leave two of the world’s top six players in the draw.

“It’s a big tournament here in Shanghai, very important for me,” said the Argentine, who has already qualified for the Barclay’s ATP World Tour Finals.

“But if I want to have a good finish this season, I have to recover, go home to be in good shape for the last tournaments.”

Rafael Nadal beat James Blake for the second time in a week, winning 6-2 6-7(4) 6-4 to reach the third round.

The world No.2 was among those players who criticised the demands of the Tour earlier this week, saying: “It’s impossible to play January 1 and finish December 5.”

The Spaniard showed flashes of his early-season form to see off Blake, who crumbled in the final game after battling back into contention from an early break in the third.

No.15 seed Haas was forced to retire after losing the first set of his tie against compatriot Rainer Schuettler 6-4 with a right shoulder injury.

The injury, along with those to del Potro and Roddick and the pre-tournament withdrawals of Roger Federer and Andy Murray are bound to amplify calls for the ATP to address the Tour calendar.

Meanwhile, Tomas Berdych ended the Asian leg of Marat Safin’s farewell tour with a 3-6 6-4 6-4 victory – but not without the Russian having the last word after refusing to shake his opponent’s hand at the end.

Safin accused Berdych of feigning injury when trailing in the second set before mounting a comeback. “If you’re losing, just be a man and lose as a man,” demanded the former world No.1.

“Don’t pretend that you are injured and then you start running around and start to hit winners. I mean, what kind of sportsman are you? What kind of man are you?”

Gilles Simon kept his bid for a spot at the season finale alive with a 6-3 6-4 win over Viktor Troicki, but a distraught Fernando Verdasco stormed from the court after slumping to a 6-4 7-6(6) defeat to Ivan Ljubicic.

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga made it look easy against wildcard Shao-Xuan Zeng, posting a 6-3 6-3 victory, while compatriot Gael Monfils overturned a one-set deficit to beat former Shanghai champion Lleyton Hewitt 4-6 6-4 6-2.

Tommy Robredo edged past Florian Mayer 4-6 7-5(1) 6-4, while Feliciano Lopez beating compatriot David Ferrer 4-6 7-5 6-1. But Nicolas Almagro fell to defeat against French Open finalist Robin Soderling 6-4 7-5, who will play Tsonga in the next round.

Novak Djokovic easily saw off Italy’s Fabio Fognini 6-3 6-1 to finish the day’s action.

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