The Rolex Shanghai Masters is the eighth of nine ATP Masters 1000 tennis tournaments on the 2019 ATP calendar, and is the only one not played in Europe or North America. Nikolay Davydenko won the 2009 Rolex Shanghai Masters with victory over Rafael Nadal in the final, but since that inaugural edition, only three players — Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray and Roger Federer — have lifted the trophy at this Masters 1000 tournament. Nole Djokovic is the defending champion and leads the way with four titles, followed by Andy Murray with three and Roger Federer with two.
The trio will aim to continue the trend as they return for the 2019 edition. Djokovic and Federer, the top two seeds in Shanghai, are each looking to win their second Masters 1000 title of the season.
We take a look at the possible semi-finalists.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC (1).
Top seed and defending champion Novak Djokovic start his campaign against the winner of a mouth-watering clash between Denis Shapovalov and Frances Tiafoe. The number one seed should bring his Tokyo trophy with him to Shanghai having crushed all opponents in Rakuten Japan Open. The Serbian’s path isn’t going to be easy but he has produced stellar performances since his fourth-round exit in the US Open. Sixth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas shares the same side of the draw and is tipped to make the last eight where both will collide. Both have potential tricky match-ups but we expect them to sail through to the quarters. It is difficult seeing anyone including Tsitsipas stopping the defending champion.
ROGER FEDERER (2).
A challenging draw awaits second seed and two-time champion Roger Federer at the Shanghai Masters, with the Swiss potentially starting his week against longtime rival Marin Cilic. The Croat will need to get through Spaniard Albert Ramos-Vinolas, who defeated Federer four years ago in Shanghai. Federer is 9-1 against Cilic, who’s having enough of a terrible year with knee injuries and is unseeded here. The Swiss master’s quarter of the draw includes a possible third-round match with David Goffin. He could then take on fifth seed Alexander Zverev in the quarter-finals. Zverev has been struggling in 2019, but he has looked better with a fine run to the Beijing semifinals and was a Shanghai semifinalist in 2018. An interesting last eight match-up is on the horizon if both players progress. Head-to-head is evens but Federer might have the edge should they meet in Shanghai.
DANIIL MEDVEDEV (3).
Daniil Medvedev has made the final of his past five events including the last two Masters 1000 Series events and the US Open. He is the third seed in Shanghai where he could be the biggest threat to Novak Djokovic before the final. The Russian opens his campaign against Giles Simon; he has prevailed in 24 of his past 27 matches. His path could include an all-Russian quarter-final showdown with seventh seed Karen Khachanov. Khachanov – a semifinalist in Beijing is playing quite well, he must first navigate a difficult section that includes No. 10 seed Fabio Fognini of Italy and three-time Shanghai champion Andy Murray. The Brit takes on a qualifier in the opening round.
DOMINIC THIEM (4).
Fourth seed Dominic Thiem begins against a qualifier and Chinese wild card Ze Zhang. The Austrian is within striking distance of qualifying for the Nitto ATP Finals for the fourth consecutive year and is currently fifth in the ATP Race to London. Thiem has shaken off a spell of poor form with a determined run to the Beijing final. He has a draw to make it to the quarterfinals for the first time, he is projected to face Nikoloz Basilashvili in the third round and it is expected that the Austrian should be able to take advantage of a good draw. Laying in wait is eighth-seeded Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut, the runner-up at this event in 2016 in the same quarter.
Our prediction for the Shanghai semi-finals: Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, Daniil Medvedev and Dominic Thiem.
2019 Shanghai Rolex Masters tennis is live from Shanghai from 6-13 October 2019.