ATP Masters 100: Shanghai Masters

Tennis Player Holds Racquet

We take a look at the Shanghai Masters taking place this week at the Qizhong Forest Sports City Arena.

This will be the second to last Masters 1000 series events this season, with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal heading in as clear favorites. The revitalization of their rivalry has really been the big talking point in tennis this year. Winning two Grand Slams apiece, the pair have greatly benefited from the extended absence of both Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic.

The likes of Wawrinka, Nishikori and Raonic have also had seasons beset by injury, no doubt helping Federer and Nadal reclaim dominion of the tour. Nadal’s victory in the China Open at the weekend will no doubt make him the heavy favorite to win not only this weekend, but to end the year as the world’s number 1 player.

The Shanghai Masters | 8 October - 15 October | Qizhong Forest Sports City Arena

The Favorites- Rafa Nadal and Roger Federer
Rafa Nadal’s fairly remarkable year showed no signs of ending in the China Open, where he disposed of an incredulous Nick Kyrgios in a stunningly one-sided final to win his 6th title of yet another glorious season. By the way, we are most certainly entering one of the most trying periods of the year for the man form Mallorca. He will certainly be feeling a bit fatigued after last week and one wonders whether he could pick himself up for the much faster surfaces here. Of all the 9 ATP Masters venues last season, this one in Shanghai rated as the fastest court. Nadal has actually never won in Shanghai- or London for that matter- with court conditions that seem to perfectly suit his arch-rival.

The first thing you need to understand about Federer, is that he is going to be exceptionally motivated to keep his chances of ending the year as World Number 1 alive. Unlike Nadal, Federer won this event in 2014. He also won here in the older incarnation of the event, winning back-to-back ATP Masters Cup titles. His aggressive game will be well-suited to the conditions that he loves, and his half of the draw seems quite favorable. While David Goffin has won back-to-back titles, one wonders whether physical exhaustion will play a role. Furthermore, Dominic Thiem has simply played too much tennis this season and looks a bit shattered. Zverev is the other seeded player in his half of the draw, and Federer will be keen to exact some revenge for that defeat in Montreal- a defeat that correlated with Federer’s recent back issues. So Roger looks a likely contender this week.

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Contender- Kevin Anderson 
I think that the US Open finalist will thrive this week, with faster court conditions likely to aid the big- serving South African.  He looked decent in Tokyo before losing to Ryan Harrison in the last 8. It was an extremely tight third set tiebreak that could have really gone either way. Anderson reached the last 8 here 2 years ago, beating Asian sensation Kishikori en route. His run also looks decent, with Nick Kyrgios or Marin Cilic likely opponents in the final 8. Anderson has a 2-0 head-to-head record against Kyrgios. I think that the South African’s serve could propel him far in this tournament, and a possible semi-final against Nadal would provide him with the ideal opportunity to exact revenge for that Flushing Meadows defeat.

Decent Bets

Steve Johnson to beat Nick Kyygios at 24/10
The great enigma of men’s tennis, Kyrgios has slowly reinvented himself into a better-rounded player this season. Having said that, Johnson looks terrific value to upset the Aussie at 24/10. Kyrgios’ defeat to Nadal in the China Open final may have taken something out of the Aussie and this could be a stumbling block for him.

Written by Damien Kayat for @Hollywoodbets.net

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