Juan Martin del Potro stuns Rafael Nadal at Shanghai Masters

Juan Martin del Potro, left, wasn't broken in a 6-2 6-4 win over Rafael Nadal at the Shanghai Masters.

Story highlights

  • Juan Martin del Potro beats new No. 1 Rafael Nadal at the Shanghai Masters
  • With the win, del Potro also earns a spot at the year-end championships in London
  • Del Potro faces Novak Djokovic in the final after the Serb dispatched Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
  • Djokovic boosted his winning streak in China to an impressive 19 matches

It could be Juan Martin del Potro's week at the Shanghai Masters.

Suffering from a fever in the early rounds, he needed a third-set tiebreak to see off Philipp Kohlschreiber in his opener.

But then the Argentine caught a break, advancing to the quarterfinals when Tommy Haas withdrew with a back injury.

Recovered from his illness, del Potro blasted his way past new world No. 1 Rafael Nadal 6-2 6-4 to reach Sunday's final against Novak Djokovic.

Read: Nadal reclaims No. 1 ranking

It was del Potro's first victory over Nadal since 2009 -- the year the former won his lone major at the U.S. Open -- and booked his spot at next month's year-end championships in London.

"I played so solid all the time, hitting the ball so hard," del Potro was quoted as saying by the ATP's official website. "I saw Rafa playing very far off the baseline, which is good for my game, for my serve, and confidence. That's the way to beat this guy."

Del Potro hit five aces, wasn't broken and consistently applied pressure on the Nadal serve, manufacturing 11 break points.

Secret to beating tennis' big four
Secret to beating tennis' big four


    Secret to beating tennis' big four


Secret to beating tennis' big four 05:40
Rafael Nadal: Comeback was difficult
Rafael Nadal: Comeback was difficult


    Rafael Nadal: Comeback was difficult


Rafael Nadal: Comeback was difficult 02:35
Little girl takes on tennis giants
Little girl takes on tennis giants


    Little girl takes on tennis giants


Little girl takes on tennis giants 02:01

Nadal had no answers.

"He played amazing," Nadal told the website. "I just congratulate him.

"Very few times I play against a player with a level like today. I really go home with the feeling that I didn't play bad. That's the thing. It is fair to say that. I am humble enough to say that I played well and I lost 6-2, 6-4."

Del Potro will likely have to play just as well or better to defeat Djokovic, who boosted his winning streak in China to 19 matches by downing Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-2 7-5 earlier Saturday.

Djokovic, now second in the rankings, regained his composure after a controversial line call in the second set.

"I would wish to get even a better performance tomorrow for the most important match this week," Djokovic, who crushed Nadal last week at the China Open, told reporters. "But we'll see."

When Djokovic and del Potro last met, Djokovic prevailed in a near five-hour classic in the Wimbledon semifinals.


    • Rafael Nadal of Spain watches the ball in his match against Martin Klizan of Slovakia during during day seven of the China Open at the National Tennis Center on October 3, 2014 in Beijing, China.

      What does 2015 hold for Rafa?

      Rafael Nadal's body might be giving him a few problems, but his mind remains as strong as ever. Will the Spaniard add to his haul of 14 grand slam titles?
    • LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 17: Wimbledon champion Andy Murray and his long time girlfriend Kim Sears arrive at Buckingham Palace on October 17, in London, England. Murray will become an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) and receive his medal from the Duke of Cambridge. (Photo by John Stillwell - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

      Love game: Andy Murray to tie knot

      The Scot has served up a few changes to his support team in 2014 but there's one person who isn't going anywhere -- his new fiancée Kim Sears.
    • Despite being forced to retire at the age of 24 due to health problems, Lacoste remained in the game and went on start the "Lacoste" brand in 1933, which specialised in tennis products. The inspiration for the company's logo came from his nickname as a player, "le crocodile."

      'Crocodile' who broke all the rules

      His distinctive crocodile logo is seen on clothing all over the world, but Rene Lacoste also left a lasting legacy in the development of tennis.
    • Serena Williams of the US holds the US Open trophy after defeating Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark during their US Open 2014 women's singles finals match at the USTA Billie Jean King National Center September 7, 2014 in New York. AFP PHOTO/Stan HONDA (Photo credit should read STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images)

      Serena savors U.S. Open win

      Serena Williams is without peer in the modern women's game and now she is on a par with two American tennis legends from the past.
    • American tennis player and golfer Althea Gibson (right) receives a kiss from compatriot Darlene Hard, whom she beat in two sets to become the first black woman to win the Women's Singles Finals at Wimbledon.

      The amazing life of Althea Gibson

      Over the course of her remarkable life, Althea Gibson was many things to many people -- but it was tennis where she really left her mark.
    • Courting couple at match point

      "I didn't cry once when I practiced in front of the mirror," says Martin Emmrich. But the nerves kicked in when he got down on one knee on court.
    • LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - JULY 03: Tennis / Frauen: Wimbledon 2004, London; Finale; Siegerin Maria SHARAPOVA / RUS 03.07.04. (Photo by Bongarts/Bongarts/Getty Images)

      'Baby' Sharapova's big moment

      It's 10 years since a teenage Maria Sharapova became the darling of Wimbledon's hallowed Center Court, launching herself as a star.
    • 'Swiss Miss' follows mom's lead

      Five-time grand slam champion Martina Hingis has followed her mom into a coaching role, setting up a new tennis academy in Barcelona, Spain.