2017 Shanghai Rolex Masters
The 2017 Shanghai Rolex Masters takes place over the next week, with the world’s top players gathering for the penultimate ATP Masters 1000 event of the season. World Number One Rafael Nadal and nineteen-time grand slam champion Roger Federer headline this year’s field as both look to continue their push to finish the year as the year end number one. Britain’s Andy Murray is the defending champion here, after defeating Spaniard Roberto Bautista-Agut in last year’s final to win his third Shanghai title. However, the former World Number One won’t be defending his title as he’ll be missing the rest of the season with a hip injury. Murray is joined on the side-lines by a host of the sport’s other top players, including Novak Djokovic, Stan Wawrinka, Kei Nishikori and Milos Raonic. While a number of the top players are missing out with injury, this year’s tournament promises to be one of the most exciting yet as a number of players will all genuinely believe they have a chance of winning this title. Who will be the top dog in Shanghai in 2017?
This is the eighth Masters 1000 event of the season, with the previous seven having been shared between four players. Roger Federer won the season’s two opening Masters titles, in Indian Wells and Miami, to claim his third career Sunshine Double. World Number One Rafael Nadal, meanwhile, was his dominant self again on clay this season, as he won the next two Masters events in Monte Carlo and Madrid, with the former being his tenth success at the event. It was then the turn of rising star Alexander Zverev, as the young German won his first and second Masters events in Rome and Canada respectively, where he impressively saw off Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer in those finals. Grigor Dimitrov is the only other man to have won a Masters 1000 title this season, with the Bulgarian winning his first at the Cincinnati Masters in August. Will one of these four win another Masters title this season, or can someone else crash their party?
Former World Number One’s Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic are the most successful players in the tournament’s history, with both having won this title on three occasions in the past. Murray was also the runner-up here in 2012 and is the only player to have reached this final on four occasions. While another interesting fact about this tournament is the fact there’s never been the same runner-up in the tournament’s history, with a different player taking home the second place price in each staging. Swiss great Roger Federer is the only former champion in this year’s field, following his triumph here in 2014. Meanwhile world number one Rafael Nadal has never won this title here in Shanghai, with the Spaniard coming closest to winning this title in 2009, when he was beaten in the final by Nikolay Davydenko. The ATP Race to London is now heating up and a number of players will see this tournament as a chance to gain ranking points and move one step to closer to joining Nadal, Federer and Zverev at the ATP World Tour Finals in November.
World Number One Rafael Nadal will be the favourite to win this tournament this week, as the Spaniard returns to an event that hasn’t always been kind to him. While Nadal has technically won this Masters event, back when it was held in Madrid and part of the Masters Series, he hasn’t actually won it when it’s been held here in Shanghai. Nonetheless, Nadal comes into this tournament full of confidence after winning the recent China Open, seeing off Nick Kyrgios in terrific fashion in that final, and he’ll be hoping to break another record this week. The Spaniard is currently joined level with Novak Djokovic with having won the most Masters titles, with both having won thirty throughout their respective careers, and so he’ll be hoping to win his thirty-first this week to move into a league of his own. Nadal’s in the kind of form to do just that as he comes into this on the back of winning the last two singles tournaments he’s entered; so can Nadal finally win here in Shanghai?
Roger Federer is playing in his first singles tournament since he was beaten by Juan Martin del Potro at the US Open, and he’ll be looking to get back to the form he showed in the first half of the season that saw him win his eighteenth and nineteenth grand slam titles at the Australian Open and Wimbledon respectively. The Swiss has won here in Shanghai before, beating Gilles Simon in the 2014 final, so he’ll be looking to win his second title here this week and sixth of the season, as he looks to continue his battle with Nadal for the year end number one ranking. While this is set to be Federer’s first singles outing since the US Open, he was part of the European team that won the recent Laver Cup, and it was Federer who won the deciding tie for Team Europe. The 2014 champion also put his rivalry with Rafa to one side as the pair teamed up as doubles partners for the European team, and they won their tie, much to the delight of tennis world. While rivalries will be resumed this week, can Federer return to his best form and win here for a second time?
Alexander Zverev is looking to win a third Masters 1000 title of the season, as he comes into this tournament on the back of a semi-final defeat at the China Open. While the young German will be one of the main challengers for the title this week, he’ll need to regain the form he showed in the summer that saw him win consecutive titles in Washington and Canada. While Zverev’s qualification for the ATP World Tour Finals was confirmed with his run in China, the German will be looking to end the year strong as he aims to finish the year as high as third in the rankings. Can Zverev shine in Shanghai?
The in-form David Goffin will be another player to watch this week, as the Belgian comes into this tournament on the back of winning his second title in as many weeks at the Japan Open. The number eight seed won his second straight title this past week as he saw off Frenchman Adrian Mannarino in the Japan Open final. While Goffin sturggled with injuries over the summer, he’s come back looking better than ever and he’ll be looking to make it a hat trick of successive titles this week in Shanghai.
Meanwhile, Australian Nick Kyrgios will be looking for another good run this week, following his run to the recent China Open final, as he looks to win a first Masters 1000 title. The twenty-two-year-old beat world number four Alexander Zverev during his run to the final and he was only stopped by an inspired Rafael Nadal in that final. If Kyrgios can bring his form from Beijing to Shanghai he’ll be in for another great week here, and he could even end it as the Shanghai champion.
Wimbledon finalist Marin Cilic will be looking for his second career Masters title this week as the Croatian ace looks to move closer to qualification for the World Tour Finals in the process. The former US Open champion has only played in two tournaments since an injury hindered his performance in the Wimbledon final earlier this season. Since his return from injury Cilic suffered a disappointing third round defeat at the US Open, before finding some form to reach the semi-finals at the recent Japan Open. Cilic, another member of the winning European Laver Cup team, is extremely tough to beat on his day and if he can find some of his best form then he’ll be a big threat this week.
Last year’s runner-up Roberto Bautista-Agut will be hoping to go one step further here this year, as he looks win here for the first time. The Spaniard has tasted success recently, winning the Winston-Salem Open in August, and he’ll be looking to bring that kind of form here to Shanghai as he chases his first Masters 1000 title. Grigor Dimitrov will be looking to win his second successive Masters 1000 title of the season following his triumph in Cincinnati, and he’s coming into the tournament in decent form following a run to the China Open semi-finals. The Bulgarian has never been passed the second round here in Shanghai and so he’ll be looking to significantly improve on that this week. Dimitrov should be there or thereabouts and he has everything he needs to win this title for the first time in 2017.
Recent US Open finalist Kevin Anderson will be looking for another good run here, as the South African seems to have finally rediscovered the form that saw him break into the world’s top ten a couple of years ago. Meanwhile, rising Canadian star Denis Shapovalov will be looking for another good run as he looks to continue to build-up his experience, while the number five seed Dominic Thiem looks to rediscover his early season form that seems to have abandoned him over the past few months. In the penultimate Masters event of the season, who will come out on top and be crowned the king in Shanghai?