ATP Tour 2019: Masters 1000 Series Preview

Dominic Thiem of Austria during Day 8 of the French Open 2018 on June 3, 2018 in Paris, France

Dominic Thiem faces Pablo Carreno Busta while Novak Djokovic should secure victory against Denis Shapovalov in our Shanghai Masters selected round of 32 preview. 

Photo Copyright Steve Haag - Hollywoodbets



ATP Tour 2019
Masters 1000 Series
Shanghai Masters
Qizhong Forest Sports City Arena, Shanghai, China (Outdoor Hardcourt)
Selected Round of 32 Matches- 9th October

Dominic Thiem (4) (2/5) vs Pablo Carreno Busta (2/1)

The rise of Dominic Thiem as a hardcourt force has been one of the more interesting subplots of this year’s tour. Thiem has long since been considered a major force in clay-court tennis, born out by two Roland Garros final defeats. But the Austrian megastar has evolved on the faster courts, seemingly prepared to shorten points on quicker surfaces. His victory at Indian Wells was arguably more significant than either of his Paris finals. It underlined his growing reputation as an all-court exponent. Last week’s victory at the China Open just further highlighted his new found enthusiasm for the surface. That was his 4th title of the season, keeping him in touching distance of the entrenched top three. But he hasn’t really shone thus far in the week following a victory. He was eliminated in the opening round of Miami following his Indian Wells success.

It has been a strange year for Pablo Carreno Busta. The 2017 US Open semi-finalist has been on the cusp of a really successful season. This was no more evident than an epic 4th round, five-set defeat at the Australian Open. 3rd round runs at Roland Garros and Flushing Meadows have shown how frustrating it has been for the hardcourt specialist. His best results had been semi-final runs at the Antalya and German Opens. That was until a morale boosting title at the recent Chengdu Open. Carreno Busta is always an excellent candidate for a surprise victory. His level tends to remain fairly high throughout the season, making him a tough competitor to dismiss in these end of year events. Despite an opening round defeat in Japan last week, don’t be too surprised if Carreno Busta is able to upset the apple cart this week.

My Carreno Busta confidence may seem rather fanciful. Especially when you consider that Thiem leads the Spaniard 5-0 in the head-to-head stakes. Having said that, their last meeting came back in 2017. Furthermore, three of those defeats were in tight three-set deciders. Thiem has also struggled to consistently follow-up excellent performances, meaning that there could be an element of hangover in the Austrian’s performance this week.

Novak Djokovic (1) (1/8) vs Denis Shapovalov (47/10)

Novak Djokovic’s victory in last week’s Japan Open was perhaps one of the more emphatic ones that I can remember, recalling some of Nadal’s serene clay-court wins. He never dropped a set and soon dispelled any silly notion that he has diminished in any way. That 4th round retirement against Wawrinka in New York really skewed what has been a wonderful year for Djokovic. The Aussie Open and Wimbledon Champion has negotiated a more streamlined schedule this year. He also won in Madrid and reached the final of the Rome Masters 1000 event. Djokovic has at times dropped in intensity, which tend to make him look demotivated in comparison to Nadal. Djokovic is a four-time champion and is the overwhelming favourite this week.

The travails of Denis Shapovalov have been well documented. Since reaching the semi-final of the 2017 Canadian Open, there have been great things expected of the Canadian. Since then his success has been sporadic at best, though he has shown a proficiency for Masters 1000 events. He reached the semi-final of last year’s Madrid event before yet another great showing at Indian Wells this year.  He reached the semi-finals, augmenting his reputation as a big event player. Shapovalov has a tendency to play too aggressively, racking up astronomical unforced error counts. But he seems to have improved in recent weeks, as evidenced by semi-finals at Winston Salem and the Chengdu Open. 

This will only be the 3rd meeting between these two. Djokovic unsurprisingly leads the head-to-head 2-0, with both of those victories coming this year. He thrashed the Canadian in Rome, but actually dropped a set to Shapovalov during his glorious Melbourne run. With that in mind, I think there could be some value in backing Djokovic to win three at 26/10. As mentioned earlier, Shapovalov has looked more solid in recent times, and perhaps he can harness his big-hitting style enough to sneak a set off the great man.

Written by Damien Kayat for Hollywoodbets 

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