Federer wins first singles match since August
Seventh-ranked player beats Seppi in straight sets
In Roger Federer's last tournament, he lost at the U.S. Open to a player he had beaten 10 straight times.
Federer returned to the singles court at the Shanghai Masters on Wednesday and in defeating Andreas Seppi, ensured that another long winning streak didn't come to an end.
Whereas Federer was upset by Tommy Robredo in New York five weeks ago, he improved to 10-0 against Seppi by downing the Italian 6-4 6-3.
Having dipped to seventh in the rankings, Federer needs wins to ensure his participation at the year-end championships in London in November. He has appeared at the marquee event every year since 2002.
Federer hasn't dwelled on his defeat to Robredo -- he told reporters this week he didn't want to think too much about it -- and is already looking forward to a "great" 2014 to dampen any talk of retirement.
The Swiss veteran was certainly sharper against Seppi than Robredo, especially after overturning an early break deficit in the first set.
Both players, however, hit more unforced errors than winners in Asia's top men's tournament.
Federer was the overwhelming crowd favorite, with fans chanting, "in, in, in" when the 17-time grand slam champion challenged a forehand he hit that was called wide.
"It was great energy, I must say," Federer told reporters. "It gives me unbelievable motivation, inspires me to train hard, work hard, push further for that particular day, but also wanting to come back again next year, and again and again."
Rafael Nadal watched part of his great rival's match and was mobbed by fans wanting his autograph.
The Spaniard, back to top spot in the rankings this week after a two-year absence, also advanced in straight sets over Alexandr Dolgopolov.
The man he deposed as No. 1 did the same against Marcel Granollers.
Novak Djokovic, the top seed because the Shanghai draw was made last week, needed a medical timeout for a foot problem but still thrashed Granollers 6-2 6-0.
"It was just an awkward movement," Djokovic told reporters. "I was in an off-balance position. I was running and I made a quick movement that caused a sharp pain at that instant moment."
"But after the match we determined that it's nothing serious, so it's all fine."
Murray withdraws from London
When Andy Murray announced he would be undergoing back surgery last month, it was thought the Wimbledon champion wouldn't return until 2014.
But according to reports last week, Murray considered coming back at the year-end championships on home soil after a successful operation.
Alas, Murray ruled out that possibility Wednesday.
"I'm really disappointed not to be playing this year," Murray told the ATP's website. "I love playing in front of my home crowd. It's a great atmosphere.
"All the players look forward to competing in London and I'll be doing my best to qualify again for the tournament next year."
His withdrawal realistically means that five players -- Federer, Stanislas Wawrinka, Richard Gasquet, Milos Raonic and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga -- are vying for the final two spots in the eight-man field.
All four have advanced to the third round in Shanghai except Gasquet, who fell Tuesday to Raonic's Canadian compatriot Vasek Pospisil.
Wawrinka, who reached the last four in New York, meets Raonic on Thursday.
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