Back to winning ways for my ATP tennis tournament selections last week as Andy Murray (11/8) won his 40th ATP title at Beijing seeing off Grigor Dimitrov in the final, while Nick Kyrgios (10/1) won his third ATP title of the 2016 season at Tokyo, defeating David Goffin in the final.
On to this week’s action and we have the penultimate Masters 1000 Series of the 2016 season at Shanghai and, as usual, a star studded field will compete for the title and the 1000 ranking points on offer to the winner. The tournament has been going since 2009 and has been dominated by the world’s elite players. Top seed this year and defending champion Novak Djokovic has won the title three times (2012, 2013 and 2015), second seed Andy Murray has won the tournament twice (2010 and 2011) and Roger Federer (2014) along with Nikolay Davydenko (2009) have both won the event once.
Since the tournament’s inception in 2009 a player seeded no higher than six won the title and a player seeded no higher than sixteen has been a losing finalist six times in this period. The top seed has the best record at Shanghai winning three of the last seven titles (last 2015) and they were a losing finalist once in this period (2009), while the second seed has won the title only once (2011) and they were never a losing finalist in this period, which does not bode well for Andy Murray’s chances this year.
With the top seed having such a strong record at Shanghai and Djokovic being so dominant at Masters Series level again this season it’s hard to oppose the world number one, especially as he knows a another Masters Series title will keep world number two Andy Murray at bay in the battle for world number one at least for the remainder of this season. However, Djokovic’s form has been inconsistent since winning the French Open with only one title win (Cincinnati Masters) and with that in mind he makes little appeal at the odds.
One player who stands out in the top-half of the draw is 2015 finalist and ninth seed this week Jo Wilfried Tsonga (66/1). The Frenchman returns to the ATP Tour after reaching the quarter-finals at the US Open where he retired against Djokovic. He looked in great form up to that point and, with his injury problems behind him, he is more than capable of springing a surprise and repeating last year’s success this week.
While the second seed’s record at Shanghai is poor, Andy Murray appears to have a fine chance given his record at the tournament (two titles and one final appearance) and form this year. Furthermore, he warmed up well for this week winning the title at Beijing last week.
However, he has a tough draw with the likes of Wawrinka, Raonic, Monfils and Del Potro all potentially lying in wait and this is a good enough reason for me to oppose him this week, especially as he’s lost against top class players like Nishikori and Del Potro recently. Of the above mentioned quartet two-time quarter-finalist (2013 and 2015) Stan Wawrinka (10/1) and Del Potro (25/1) appeal the most. If they can produce their best form this week they have every chance of reaching Sunday’s final.