Saturday, 6 October 2012

ATP Shanghai: Preview and Predictions

Lets take a look at this week's draw for the Masters 1000 draw in Shanghai where the top eight seeds all have byes...

Roger Federer
QUARTER 1 - R.Federer v J.Monaco
Roger Federer returns to action in Shanghai for the first time since losing in the US Open quarter-finals to Tomas Berdych.  Federer will play a qualifier or Zhang Ze in the second round before a potential meeting with Stanislas Wawrinka in the third round.

Juan Monaco is projected to meet Federer in the quarter-finals.  The Argentine newly crowned top 10-er won the title in Kuala Lumpur two weeks ago and will open up against the winner of a first round match between Fernando Verdasco and Go Soeda.  Verdasco will be a strong test in the second round and Marin Cilic will be even tougher if he makes it through into the third round.  Monaco has had a superb year so far, but I think he will come unstuck before the quarter-finals.

Prediction - Federer v Cilic

QUARTER 2 - A.Murray v J.Isner
Andy Murray made the semi-finals in Tokyo in his first performance since winning his first Grand Slam title at the US Open and takes the number three slot in Shanghai.  He has a number of tricky customers in his draw; Bernard Tomic or Florian Mayer await in the second round and then Alexandr Dolgopolov, Jeremy Chardy and Gilles Simon are also in his section too.  Chardy beat Murray in Cincy and Simon made the final in Bangkok two weeks ago so Murray will have some challenges to get past early on in the tournament.

John Isner will take on either Kevin Anderson or Jarkko Nieminen in the second round.  I fancy Isner to be a slow starter during this final stage of the season and I am predicting an early exit in Shanghai.  I think Richard Gasquet has a neat draw this week and should make the quarter-finals.  He suffered a shock second round exit in Beijing to Zhang Ze, but having won the title in Bangkok the week before the loss was not too shocking.  Gasquet opens against a qualifier before a tough second rounder against either Radek Stepanek or Lleyton Hewitt.

Prediction - Murray v Gasquet

Tomas Berdych
QUARTER 3 - J.Tsonga v T.Berdych
The most dangerous section is the third quarter where Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Tomas Berdych are the two highest seeds.  Tsonga could face a rematch with Milos Raonic in the third round.  Tsonga beat Raonic, 6-3 3-6 25-23 in a marathon encounter at the Olympics earlier this year.  Both are in good form with Tsonga reaching the final in Beijing and Raonic beating two top ten players on the way to the final in Tokyo.  Raonic opens with a qualifier in the first round and will meet either Fabio Fognini or Marcos Baghdatis in the second round.

Tomas Berdych suffered a surprising quarter-final loss to Kei Nishikori in Tokyo and he could meet him once again in Beijing.  The question is whether Nishikori will be able to deliver again this week.  He will have his work cut out in the second round where is likely to play Sam Querrey.  The American won their last encounter in Toronto in straight sets and I think he will make the third round in Shanghai.

Prediction - Tsonga v Berdych

QUARTER 4 - J.Tipsarevic v N.Djokovic
Janko Tipsarevic has a tough draw in Shanghai to contend with as he will face the winner of a first round match between Viktor Troicki and Mikhail Youzhny.  Tipsarevic and Youzhny have split their six encounters overall and the two they have played this year.  Youzhny won a four set match in Wimbledon, but Tipsy turned the tables in Canada with a straight sets win.  One of the toughest first round matches will see Tommy Haas meet Nicolas Almagro.  The Spaniard clay courter has posted some very solid results on the hard courts this year, but I give the tip to Haas to win that one.  

Novak Djokovic has had another solid week in Beijing where he has cruised to the final.  In Shanghai, he plays Grigor Dimitrov or Pablo Andujar in the first round.  Philipp Kohlschreiber is likely to be his first seeded opponent in the round of 16.  The German play takes on Ryan Harrison in the first round.  The American is a talented player, but is yet to make that big breakthrough and is unlikely too unless he can kerb his wild temper.

Prediction - Haas v Djokovic

Final Prediction - Roger Federer d. Tomas Berdych
This week I am tipping Roger Federer for the title with a win over Andy Murray in the semi-finals.  At this stage of the season there are often a few surprises with tiredness creeping in, but I think Federer will claim his first title since Wimbledon...

You can view my full predictions for Shanghai HERE

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