ATP 2018 Shanghai Open Draw: Preview & Analysis

Oct 10 7 min read

5:21 am

Qi Zhong Stadium Shanghai on Flickr by Curt Smith under CC2.0  

The only Masters 1000 tournament played in Asia will commence its 10th edition on October 7th at the Qizhong Forest Sports City Arena in Shanghai. Sixteen of the Top 25 players will be featured in the main draw. Roger Federer will be the top seed and the defending champion for the event. Last year's runner-up and World No.1 Rafael Nadal pulled out of the event with an injury. Three-time champion Novak Djokovic is seeded second followed by Juan Martin Del Potro, Alexander Zverev, Marin Cilic, Dominic Thiem and Kevin Anderson among the other Top 10 players. Here is how the players line up for the eighth Masters tournament of the year.

First quarter: Federer, Nishikori, Raonic, Schwartzman

Top seed Roger Federer faces a stern test in defending his title as he faces a relatively tougher draw right from the second round. Having received a bye in the opening round, the Swiss Maestro awaits the winner of Daniil Medvedev and wildcard entrant Ze Zhang. Medvedev won his maiden ATP 500 title at the Tokyo Open last week after defeating home favourite Kei Nishikori in the final. The newly instilled Russian No.1 will definitely pose a challenge for Federer if he manages to get past Zhang. Another Next Gen player to feature in this quarter is Andrey Rublev, who will be up against 2016 runner-up Roberto Bautista Agut. Rublev has won only one of he last eight matches he has played and lost his lone meeting with Bautista Agut at Valencia in 2015. The winner will face Mackenzie McDonald or 14th seed Milos Raonic in the next round. Raonic marks his seventh appearance at Shanghai and is yet to get past the Round of 16 at the tournament.

Both Diego Schwartzman and Sam Querrey lost in their opening round matches at Tokyo and Beijing respectively last week and will now face each other for the third time in their career. Schwartzman won both their past encounters, the latest of which came at the Toronto Masters earlier this year. The winner will face Taylor Fritz or Robin Haase in the second round. Haase makes his third appearance at the event and will be looking to register his first win in Shanghai. 2018 Tokyo Open runner-up Kei Nishikori has a bye in the first round and will face the winner of the wildcard entrants Yibing Wu and Zhe Li in the second.

Probable quarter-finals: Federer vs Nishikori

Second quarter: Del Potro, Thiem, Coric, Wawrinka

2013 Shanghai Masters runner-up Juan Martin Del Potro received a bye into the second round after a week that saw him finish as the runner-up in Beijing. The Argentine faces health issues entering Shanghai as he revealed that he had been suffering from flu after losing to Nikoloz Basilashvili in the final of China Open. Del Potro will face compatriot Leonardo Mayer or Richard Gasquet in the second round. Gasquet finished reached the quarter-finals last year and enters Shanghai after finishing as a semi-finalist in Tokyo.

Stan Wawrinka received a wild card into the main draw of Shanghai and will face Borna Coric in the first round. The Swiss has won all three of his past meetings against the Croatian. Coric suffered early round exits in Shenzhen and Beijing and will make his second main draw appearance at Shanghai. The winner of the match is likely to face Nick Kyrgios who takes on qualifier Bradley Klahn in his opening round match. Klahn is tied at 1-1 in the head to head record against Kyrgios, who has failed to progress beyond the second round in his three appearances at the Shanghai Masters. A potential sixth matchup between Kyrgios and Wawrinka is on the cards if the duo is able to get past their first round matches. A third round meeting between Stan Wawrinka and Del Potro is likely to take place if the results tilt in the duo's favour in the earlier rounds. Del Potro leads Wawrinka 4-3 in the head to head record.

Having lost 12 of his last 14 matches on tour, Jack Sock will be up against Peter Gojowczyk in the first round. Lucas Pouille's exit from the tournament due to a muscle sprain made way for Gojowczyk into the main draw. The German defeated Sock earlier this year at Auckland in straight sets. The winner will face Damir Dzumhur or Marton Fucsovics in the next round. Matthew Ebden and Frances Tiafoe clash for the third time this year with both players having won one match apiece. Both players lost to Kevin Anderson last week at Tokyo. This is the first time since 2011 that Matthew Ebden has made it to the main draw at Shanghai whereas Tiafoe makes his second consecutive main draw appearance at the event. The winner will face Dominic Thiem in the second round.

Probable quarter-finals: Del Potro vs Thiem

Third quarter: Zverev, Cilic, Carreno Busta, Shapovalov

Alexander Zverev makes his third consecutive appearance at Shanghai having reached the Round of 16 on two previous occasions. He received a bye in the first round and now awaits Denis Shapovalov or Nikoloz Basilashvili in the next round. Shapovalov finished in the final four stage last week at Tokyo whereas Basilashvili went on to win the China Open, defeating Del Potro in the final. Zverev leads Shapovalov 2-0 and Basilashvili 1-0 in the head to head record. Qualifier Vasek Pospisil faces Alex de Minaur in the first round. De Minaur won their only meeting earlier this year at Washington in three sets. The winner will face Pablo Carreno Busta or Benoit Paire in the next round. Paire made his way through the qualifying draw to set up an eighth meeting against Carreno Busta. The Frenchman leads the Spaniard 4-3 in head to head record.

Last year's semi-finalist Marin Cilic returns to Shanghai after suffering a shock first round exit to Jan-Lennard Struff at Tokyo last week. The Croatian has received a bye into the next round and awaits Mischa Zverev or Nicolas Jarry. Zverev defeated Jarry earlier this year at Eastbourne but is on a five-match losing streak currently. An ankle injury forced Grigor Dimitrov to withdraw from the Shanghai Masters and as a result Andreas Seppi has replaced him in the main draw. Seppi will now face Adrian Mannarino for the seventh time in his career. The duo have three wins apiece - all of which have ended in straight sets. The winner will face Filip Krajinovic or 11th seed Kyle Edmund in the next round.

Probable quarter-finals: Cilic vs Shapovalov

Fourth quarter: Djokovic, Anderson, Tsitsipas, Khachanov

Seventh seed Kevin Anderson has reached the quarter-finals at Shanghai only once in his eight appearances at the event. The South African has received a bye in the opening round this year and awaits the winner of qualifier Mikhail Kukushkin and Albert Ramos-Vinolas. Karen Khachanov and Steve Johnson face each other for the first time and so do Gael Monfils and Stefanos Tsitsipas. Monfils suffered first round exits at Chengdu and Shenzhen whereas Tsitsipas reached the quarter-finals at Tokyo. The young Greek reached his maiden Masters final at Toronto earlier this year and enjoys a career high ranking of World No.15 presently.

Marco Cecchinato defeated Gilles Simon at Umag last year in three sets. The Frenchman now has a chance to avenge his defeat as he takes on the Italian in their second career meeting. Cecchinato defeated Novak Djokovic earlier this year at Roland Garros and won the title at Umag but has since then lost seven of nine matches he has played on tour. Gilles Simon won the title at Metz but lost in the first round to Alex de Minaur at Tokyo last week. The winner will face qualifier Hubert Hurkacz or Hyeon Chung in the second round.

A right shoulder injury forced David Goffin to end his 2018 season and hence he has been replaced by Jeremy Chardy in the main draw at Shanghai Masters. Chardy will face Maximilian Marterer who came in as a replacement for Fernando Verdasco. The winner will face second seed Novak Djokovic in the next round. Djokovic has dominated Chardy 11-0 in their head to head record and is yet to drop a set against the Frenchman. Djokovic has lost 11 matches this year with three of his conquerors falling in his quarter - Hyeon Chung, Marco Cecchinato and Stefanos Tsitsipas.

Probable quarter-finals: Djokovic vs Tsitsipas