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Shanghai surprise for Federer

  Novak Djokovic congratulates Roger Federer on his win at the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati over the summer. The two won’t be meeting at the Shanghai Rolex Masters as Fed lost to qualifier Albert Ramos-Vinolas Tuesday.

Novak Djokovic congratulates Roger Federer on his win at the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati over the summer. The two won’t be meeting at the Shanghai Rolex Masters as Fed lost to qualifier Albert Ramos-Vinolas Tuesday.

It’s the end-of-the-year, Asian swing of the men’s tour in tennis and as usual it’s fraught with drama.

Will Nick Kyrgios – tennis’ reigning bad boy, on the brink of a suspension after swatting a ball into the stands during his losing quarterfinal match at the Japan Open and being fined at the Shanghai Rolex Masters for his outbursts about the court, the ball kids, the everything – be able to rein in his temper? (Oh, Nick, so attractive and so talented. Just shut up and play, huh?)

Will Andy Murray – now back at No. 2 and on a collision course with Novak Djokovic in Shanghai – skip the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in London so he can be fresh to lead Great Britain to a Davis Cup title? It’s a mandatory event, but Andy is threatening to do just that. Remember last year, Roger Federer bowed out of the World Tour final with a bad back and then bounced back to lead Switzerland to the Cup. Maybe the ATP should redistribute the Davis Cup matches so players don’t have to choose between them and other tourneys.

Speaking of Feddy – who’s slipped to No. 3 – it’s Roger over and out as he lost in Shanghai to the No. 70-ranked player, Albert Ramos-Vinolas, a qualifier. Fed won last year and with the medium-fast surface and best-two-out-of-three format was positioned to repeat, the hot, hot, hot Nole notwithstanding.

Indeed, Fed was scheduled to meet his old nemesis, Rafael Nadal, in the semis – only to fall to a Rafa countryman.

Oh, the irony. But then, anything can and will happen in sports – and in life.