Federer failed to convert two break points in Ramos-Vinolas’ opening service game and would rue his missed opportunity as Ramos-Vinolas went on to sneak the first set in the ensuing tie-break.
The Swiss hit back strongly in the second set, breaking in the fifth and seventh games to level the match, but could not carry his momentum into the deciding set. Ramos-Vinolas earned a crucial break in the eighth game and went on to serve out victory.
The last time Federer and Ramos-Vinolas played, at Wimbledon in 2012, the Spaniard won only three games. Ramos-Vinolas also came into the match with a 0-15 record against top-10 players.
“I definitely thought of last year's match,” said Federer. “But at the same time it was a completely different match. Playing a lefty maybe also had something to do with it. Who knows? Albert was doing a good job of trying to stay on the offensive as well as I was trying to do the same. There were some good rallies there.
“I had my chances. I just couldn't make it today. I’ve got to look into it. But at the end of the day this can happen during the year. Unfortunately, here in Shanghai where I was defending champion, I was really hoping again to play a great tournament.
“I just think the first round here in Shanghai has always been historically quite difficult, getting used to the conditions and the surface and the balls. The balls play very different than in other places. Last year I got lucky. This year I didn't. So it's a pity.”
Ramos-Vinolas is the lowest-ranked player to beat Federer since July 2013, when World No. 114 Federico Delbonis stunned Federer in the Hamburg semi-finals.
“I'm always cautious,” said Federer, who had lost just three games in his one previous meeting with Ramos-Vinolas at Wimbledon three years ago. “I don't underestimate or lack respect for anybody out there. These guys are all touring professionals, they know what they're doing. The margins are so small.
“I played him at Wimbledon before, so I knew him. I've seen him play. He's definitely improved since then. That was a while back and that was not his favourite surface. I was aware that he could give me a tough workout and even beat me.”
Defeat for Federer in Shanghai, where he was defending 1000 ATP Ranking points, also puts in jeopardy his chance of finishing as year-end World No. 2.
The Swiss started the week 770 points behind Andy Murray in the year-to-date standings. Murray has the chance to stretch that lead even further this week now, only defending 90 points from his third-round exit against David Ferrer last year. The Scot begins his campaign on Wednesday against Steve Johnson.
Date: 13th October 2015, Source: ATP and AP