Jurgen Melzer is having a career year already.
The Austrian can claim a semifinal appearance at Roland Garros and fourth rounders at Wimbledon and the US Open as proof. He also reached a career-high No. 12 in the ATP World Tour rankings on the backs of those Grand Slam efforts and put himself within striking distance of the eighth spot for the Barclays ATP World Tour Final. So no one in their right mind would blame the 29-year old for taking it easy during the fall and quietly setting off on a well-earned vacay.
But today Melz made it known that he's ready to mix it up with the big boys in London when he upset World No. 1 Rafael Nadal 6-1, 3-6, 6-3 in the third round of the Shanghai Rolex Masters, the first time this year the 9-time Grand Slammer has failed to reach the quarterfinals. The veteran was the aggressor dictating with flat, penetrating shots and keeping the Spaniard on the defense throughout. Rafa was admittedly not at his best after contesting his third consecutive tourney but the Austrian should be given full credit for closing him out especially after having lost their three previous matches in straights.
Afterward he sounded like a man on a certain mission:
To be honest, I could live with that, having busy days in London. But it's a long way there. I'm in the quarter-finals. I have a good chance to reach the semis. I'm almost 900 points off the eighth player. This is a very long way. If it somehow happens, I'll be there, I'll be happy, and I'll be hopefully performing well.Melz isn't ready to call it a wrap just yet. And with the way he's playing, why should he?
London. So close yet, well, you know the rest.