2012 ATP Shanghai Rolex Masters Preview
Steen Kirby, TennisEastCoast.com
The second to last ATP masters event of the year and the pinnacle of the fall Asian swing will begin tomorrow in the early morning hours. Here is a preview.
Shanghai Rolex Masters
ATP World Tour Masters 1000
October 5-October 14, 2012
Prize Money $3,531,600
Top 8 seeds (who all receive first round byes)
1: Roger Federer
2: Novak Djokovic
3: Andy Murray
4: Tomas Berdych
5: Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
6: Janko Tipsarevic
7: Juan Monaco
8: John Isner
First round matchups to watch:
Bernard Tomic vs. Florian Mayer
Tomic was upset by Dmitry Tursunov in the first round of Tokyo after making the quarters in Bangkok and he will have to take on Mayer, who came out of nowhere to make the Beijing semis before falling to Novak Djokovic. Admittedly, Mayer didn’t have a tough draw to get to the semis. Mayer remains in the top 30 even though he has a losing record on the year and it will be interesting to see if he can carry his fine play into Shanghai against Tomic and beyond.
Alexandr Dolgopolov vs. Jeremy Chardy
Dolgo continued his astounding inconsistency in Beijing, losing in the 2nd round to a slumping Jurgen Melzer after previously losing his first match in Malaysia. He faces Chardy, who lost in the 2nd round of Tokyo but is slightly more consistent. On paper, Dolgo should advance but look for Chardy to pull one out.
Jarkko Nieminen vs. Kevin Anderson
Nieminen was upset in the first round of Tokyo by Tommy Robredo, but that was coming off a semi in Bangkok so he may have been fatigued. Anderson, on the other hand, has had a pretty abysmal 2012. He just lost in the 2nd round of Beijing and is barely over .500 on the year. He has not won 2 straight main draw matches since DC. While they are only 1 spot apart in the rankings (35 and 36), look for the vet Nieminen to advance off of recent form (although he is also just over .500 on the year).
Tommy Haas vs. Nicolas Almagro
Tommy Haas has slowed down since his red hot spring and summer, losing in the first round of Beijing after previously losing in the 1st round of the US Open. He will take on Almagro, who was just upset in the first round of Tokyo but has come back from injury in pretty solid form. If Haas can channel his previous form, he could pull the upset but Almagro will be the favorite.
Feliciano Lopez vs. Allejandro Falla
In a battle of two lefties, Lopez made a surprising run to the Beijing semis before falling to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and retiring with a wrist injury. Falla lost in the 2nd round of Tokyo, but did make the quarters in Bangkok. This match is interesting based on the physical condition of both players and is a toss-up.
Roger Federer returns to tournament action and will face either a qualifier or surprising Beijing quarterfinalist Zhang Ze, who usually does his work at the challenger level. Then he likely faces countryman Stan Wawrinka in the 3rd round and Juan Monaco, Marin Cilic, Martin Klizan or Fernando Verdasco in the quarters.
Cilic, who was upset in the 1st round of Beijing by challenger stalwart Marius Copil, likely plays Klizan, who was upset in the 1st round at Tokyo by Marco Chiudinelli. That should be a good 2nd round match up. Kuala Lumpur champ Monaco, who was upset in the 2nd round of Tokyo by Marcos Baghdatis will likely have to deal with Fernando Verdasco in the 2nd round. Verdasco lost to Sam Querrey in the 1st round of Beijing and plays Go Soeda in the opening round.
Andy Murray, coming off a loss to Milos Raonic in the Tokyo semis and falling to defend his title in Tokyo, will attempt to defend another title this week in Shanghai. Murray opens with the winner of Mayer/Tomic and then could get Bangkok finalist Gilles Simon or Chardy/Dolgopolov in the 3rd round. He should be able to beat them all, but they are still tricky matchups.
In the quarters, Murray could get John Isner, who returns to tournament action, Bangkok champ Richard Gasquet who comes off a 2nd round loss in Beijing to Ze Zhang or Jarkko Nieminen, who would play Isner in a US Open rematch. Also in this part of the draw are Radek Stepanek and Lleyton Hewitt, who will battle each other.
Novak Djokovic, who is currrently playing for the Beijing title, will play either Pablo Andujar or Grigor Dimitrov in the 2nd round. He could then could face Phillip Kohlschreiber in the 3rd round if Peppo can get past slumping Ryan Harrison and Lopez/Falla. Kohlschreiber last suffered a shock loss to Adrian Mannarino in the Orleans challenger.
In the quarters, Novak likely faces countryman Janko Tipsarevic for the 4th time in 2012. Djokovic has won both hard court encounters. Tipsarevic lost in the quarters to Raonic in Tokyo and will play the winner of Mikhail Youzhny vs. Viktor Troicki in the 2nd round. In the 3rd round, he likely faces Almagro or Haas.
Tomas Berdych, who lost in the Tokyo quarters to Kei Nishikori, opens against either Andreas Seppi or a qualifier then likely faces Nishikori in a 3rd round rematch. Nishikori, who plays Raonic for the Tokyo final at home, plays Chinese wild card Wu Di and likely Beijing quarterfinalist Sam Querrey in the 2nd round. Look for Nishikori to have a nice shot at winning again.
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who will play Djokovic in the Beijing final, plays either countryman Benoit Paire or a qualifier in the 2nd round. After that, he likely runs into Raonic in a battle of last week’s champions. Marcos Baghdatis, a Tokyo semifinalist is also in this part of the draw against St. Petersburg finalist Fabio Fognini and then likely Raonic. A lot of really good recent results in this part of the draw and some hot players make this the section to watch.
Dark Horse: Kei Nishikori
It is not an easy draw for Nishikori and he won’t have the advantage of home cooking like he did in Tokyo, but if he can skirt past Querrey and beat Berdych again he will have a nice shot at the semis against either Tsonga or Raonic. Anybody In this part of the draw is a possible dark horse from Raonic to Baghdatis to Querrey. Djokovic would be the semi-final opponent.
Federer d. Murray
Djokovic d. Tsonga
Djokovic d. Federer
Djoker should be able to make it two titles in a row winning Beijing tomorrow and Shanghai next week to complete the China double.