Roger Federer's defence of his Masters Cup title got off to a terrible start as he lost in three sets to the Frenchman Gilles Simon.
Simon stuns misfiring Federer
SHANGHAI // Roger Federer got his quest for a fifth Masters Cup title off to the worst possible start with a 4-6 6-4 6-3 defeat at the hands of the Frenchman Gilles Simon. The Swiss showed signs of discomfort from the back injury that caused him to withdraw from the Paris Masters last month and made 50 unforced errors to fall to a second defeat in two encounters with the 23-year-old world number nine. "The better you play, the better he plays, he's quite an unusual player and he makes you work hard and runs very well," said Federer, who also lost to Simon at the Toronto Masters in July. "Definitely today shots that I missed I normally don't miss. I think that's just lack of practice. "It's the only tournament where I really have a chance after losing the first match. So I'm happy it happened here. "At least now I have three sets under my belt and hopefully I'll play better in the next match." Simon, who qualified for the season finale when the world number one Rafael Nadal withdrew injured, targeted the top seed's backhand with his powerful groundstrokes and sealed his reward with an ace after just over two hours. Federer lost his only previous Masters Cup group match at the hands of Chile's Fernando Gonzalez in his opening encounter last year but still managed to claim the title for the second season in a row. The Briton Andy Murray and the American Andy Roddick open their Masters Cup campaigns in the second Red Group match later today. The top two from each of the two groups qualify for Saturday's semi-finals. *Reuters