At the time of writing the talented in-form young Russian Medvedev had shocked home hope Nishikori in the Tokyo final yesterday thrashing him 6-4 6-2 and this rounds off a great year for the twenty-two-year-old, as it’s his third ATP title of 2018 after winning Sydney and Winston Salem and first ATP 500 win. The Beijing final was due to be contested between top seed Del Potro and the unseeded Basilashvili who has broke through to the main stream this year.
On to this week’s action and we have the penultimate Master’s 1000 Series of the 2018 season at Shanghai which commenced yesterday and like most Master’s 1000 Series they have been dominate by the game’s elite. Reigning champion Federer won Shanghai twice, Djokovic has won three and Murray lifted the title three times. All three line up for a shot at winning this year’s title and their chances have improved with Nadal not playing due to injury. This is Federer’s and Djokovic’s first tournament since the US Open and with Murray some way off his best still and the best of the rest still not stepping up to the elite level I see this year’s title going to Djokovic who is back to his best now and loves playing Shanghai as his three titles prove.
The top two seeds have performed well at Shanghai since its inception in 2009, the top seed won three of the last ten titles (last Djokovic 2015) and they were a losing finalist twice during this period (last Nadal 2017). The second seed won three of the last ten titles (last Federer 2017) but they were never a losing finalist during this period. Since the tournaments inception in 2009 a player seeded no higher than six won the last nine titles and a player seeded no higher than sixteen was a losing finalist in eight of the last nine finals. Unseeded players have not experienced much success at Shanghai with only one such player reaching the final which was Gilles Simon in 2014.
On current form second seed Djokovic (price tbc) looks like he’ll put up a strong fight to win a fourth title this week, especially with Nadal out, as it would close the gap from 33 to 32 in the total career Masters 1000 Series wins and it will also bring Djokovic closer to Nadal in the race to end the year world number one, which I think is strong enough motivation to back him this week.
Djokovic (price tbc)