American Jared Donaldson became the first main draw player at the 2017 Shanghai Rolex Masters to post a match win on Sunday’s first day of action.
The 56th-ranked Donaldson’s saved all eight break points he faced in his 6-7 (7), 6-4, 6-4 first-round win over Pablo Cuevos of Uruguay. The win could be viewed as an early 21st birthday present for Donaldson, which he’ll celebrate on Monday.
His birthday plan: He’s going to Disney – Shanghai Disney. He’s already an experienced Disney Park visitor with outings to Disneyland and Disney World in the United States.
“I want to get a picture with Mickey, Pluto the dog and Daffy Duck,” Donaldson said laughing, before joking around about his upcoming second round meeting with world No. 1 Rafael Nadal. “Yeah, I’ve heard of him and seen him at a couple of tournaments. I don’t know a lot about him. I’ve heard he has a big forehand, fast, and is a lefty.
Donaldson then offered a more serious reflection on his upcoming outing with Nadal.
“You want to play against the best and see how your game stacks up,” he said. “Obviously playing against someone like Rafa is really special. If I lose, it will allow me to say what was my game lacking that I need to improve on to beat guys like him in the future.”
Giles Simon has played at every Shanghai Rolex Masters since the tournament’s inception nine years ago with his best result being a journey to the 2014 final where he lost to Roger Federer.
The 33-year-old Simon’s been struggling this season, and was thinking about curtailing his play, but couldn’t consider skipping Shanghai.
“I was thinking of already ending the season, but I have a few tournaments I like to play,” Simon said. “Shanghai is one of them. I have a very nice feeling on the Center Court. I think it’s the court I know the best on tour because I’ve played a lot of matches here.”
Simon started this year’s event well with a 6-3, 6-4 win over wildcard recipient Wu Yibing, who became the first Chinese boy to win a Grand Slam junior boy’s singles title at the U.S. Open last month. Next up for the Frenchman is a second round encounter against eighth seed David Goffin of Belgium.
Sunday’s results also delivered the fortunate qualifiers into the main draw – Fraces Tiafoe of the USA, Alexander Dolgopolov of Ukraine, Jordan Thompson of Australia, Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece, Dusan Lajovic of Serbia, and Nikoloz Basilashvili of Georgia.
There will be two seeds in action on Monday: Ninth seed Roberto