Can Novak Djokovic claim a record-extending fifth Shanghai title when the Masters 1000 tournament holds from 11-19 October?
Shanghai Masters 2020 predictions
With the currently coronavirus pulling apart the 2020 sporting calendar, it is very unclear what the future holds for the Shanghai Masters and indeed, the entire tour, but for now, the tournament is still scheduled to hold from 11-19 October. That’s a week after Roland Garros, according to the new French Open dates, and four weeks after the US Open.
The Shanghai Masters is the eight Masters 1000 tournament on the tennis calendar, and is the only one staged in Asia.
Novak Djokovic, with four titles, has won more Shanghai titles than anyone else, while Andy Murray (three titles) and Roger Federer (two titles) are the other multiple titlists in Shanghai.
Djokovic the man to beat again
World No. 1, Novak Djokovic will again be the favourite in Shanghai, where he will bid for a record-extending fifth title. Djokovic claimed consecutive Shanghai titles in 2012 and 2013, before registering further successes in 2015 and 2018. The Serbian has been a consistent force in Shanghai over the years, reaching at least the semi-finals in eight of his nine previous appearances. The only season he didn’t make the semis was in 2019, when he was beaten by Stefanos Tsitsipas in the quarter finals.
Before the 2020 season was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic, Djokovic had made a perfect 18-0 start to the season, leading Serbia to victory at the ATP Cup, winning an eighth Australian Open crown and claiming a fifth Dubai title. Djokovic’s level hardly drops through the course of the year, and with the benefit of this short break, he will be extremely hard to beat come the end of the season.
Can Nadal claim a maiden Shanghai title?
As for the players that can beat him, world No. 2, Rafael Nadal is an obvious candidate. However, Nadal has never won the Shanghai Masters. The great Spaniard reached the final at the inaugural edition in 2009 (lost to Nikolay Davydenko), and again in 2017 (lost to Federer), but he has been absent from the tournament in each of the last two years due to knee and wrist injuries respectively.
Nadal made a steady start to the season prior to the break, reaching the quarter finals of the Australian Open (lost to Dominic Thiem), and winning the Acapulco title. Unfortunately, he could not add to his title haul on clay, with the European clay season wiped out by the coronavirus pandemic.
Again, due to the enforced break Nadal and his fellow pros are getting, the Spaniard should be fairy fresher if and when the season does resume. However, that does not necessarily guarantee that he will compete in Shanghai, with the tournament scheduled so close to the new French Open dates. Roland Garros has been moved to September 20 – October 4, while Shanghai is set to begin on 11 October, one week after the French Open. Given Nadal’s record at Roland Garros, and how much history is at stake, that tournament will surely take priority over every other event around that period.
Federer to win a third Shanghai crown?
Two-time Shanghai champion, Roger Federer is currently recuperating from knee surgery, but the great Swiss is expected to be fit when the season resumes (hopefully) on 7 June. Federer’s Shanghai titles came in 2014 and 2017, when he defeated Gilles Simon and Nadal respectively, and assuming he is fit enough to play, he remains very much in the title discussions.
Can Medvedev retain his title?
Daniil Medvedev was on fire around this period last year, reaching six consecutive finals, culminating in a title run at the Shanghai Masters. The Russian had earlier claimed a maiden Masters 1000 title in Cincinnati, and his hot streak continued in Shanghai, where he defeated fellow young guns, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Alexander Zverev in the semis and final.
Medvedev has been on a bit of a lull since Shanghai- he lost his last four matches in 2019, and has made just one quarter final in three tournaments this year. That quarter final appearance was in Marseille, where he only had to win one match to reach the last eight, while he lost out in the fourth round at the Australian Open, and fell to Vasek Pospisil in the opening round in Rotterdam. He did play well at the season-opening ATP Cup, contributing heavily to Russia’s semi-final run, but he’s not been at his best in the individual events. He will hope to be better when the season (and the rankings) resumes in June, as he’s got plenty to defend in the second half of the year.
Can Thiem continue hard court surge in Shanghai?
Dominic Thiem has been making his move on hard courts in the past year, and he’ll look to keep that going when the season starts again in June. While it was not as significant as his Indian Wells triumph last March, or his Australian Open final in 2020, Thiem’s hard court surge did extend to Shanghai, where he made the quarter finals for the first time last season.
Prior to 2019, Thiem had never been past the second round in four previous visits to Shanghai, and arrived at the tournament on a three-match losing streak at the venue. The Austrian took out Pablo Carreno Busta and Nikoloz Basilashvili to score back to back Shanghai wins for the first time, before being taken out by Matteo Berrettini in the last eight. Thiem will aim to keep progressing in 2020 when he joins the Shanghai field. Given how well he’s performed on hard courts in the last 12 months, there’s every reason to believe that he can go all the way in Shanghai.
Andy Murray anyone?
We do not know yet if we will see Andy Murray in Shanghai, but he plays, he will get the chance to equal Novak Djokovic’s record of four Shanghai titles. Not that records would be top of Murray’s mind at the moment as he will be more concerned about getting fit and playing consistently when the reason deadline of 7 June.
Between Murray, Federer and Djokovic, they have won the Shanghai Masters in nine of the 11 editions. The only years any of the Big 4 didn’t win Shanghai were in the first edition in 2009, which Davydenko win, and the most recent edition last season, which Medvedev won.
Medvedev, along with Stefanos Tsitsipas and Alexander Zverev, a finalist from last season, will lead the younger guns in their bid to make their marks in Shanghai.
Shanghai Masters 2020 tournament information
Name: Shanghai Rolex Masters
Location: Shanghai, China
Venue: Qizhong Forest Sports City Arena
Category: ATP Masters 1000 Series
Surface: Outdoor hard courts
Draw size: 54 singles/24 doubles
Novak Djokovic (4)
Singles – Daniil Medvedev
Doubles – Mate Pavic/ Bruno Soares
Shanghai Masters betting tips
Check back for the best Paris Rolex Masters betting tips when odds are released closer to the tournament, where main-draw play begins on Monday 11 October 2020.