Tennis - This Week's Preview
World number one Rafa Nadal continued his rich vein of form by landing the Beijing ATP 500 title and the way he thrashed fifth seed Kyrgios in the final 6-1, 6-2 confirms he is definitely back to his best. Second seed Goffin achieved a feat usually reserved for the games Big Four by winning back-to-back titles at the ATP 500 Tokyo last week Shenzhen the previous week. Goffin defeated Mannarino in the final in straight sets and over the last two weeks he proved how confident he is and well he’s playing by winning five of the six tie-breaks he played, including both against eighth seed Schwartzman in the semi-finals last week.
On to this week’s action and we have the penultimate Masters 1000 Series of the 2016 season at Shanghai and top-seed Nadal (5/2) and second seed Federer, who plays for the first time since the US Open, are the tournament favourites and, on current form, Nadal has to be backed at his current price as he seems to be getting stronger as the season progresses.
Since the tournament’s inception in 2009 a player seeded no higher than six has won the title and a player seeded no higher than sixteen was a losing finalist seven times during this period. The top seed has the best record at Shanghai winning three of the last eight titles (last Djokovic 2015) and they were a losing finalist once in this period (2009), while the second seed has won the title twice during this period (last Murray 2016) and they were never a losing finalist in this period, which does not bode well for 2014 winner Federer’s chances this week.
Kevin Anderson (7/2) should go close to winning the Second Quarter if he can reproduce his US Open form and French veterans Simon (22/1) and Gasquet (12/1) are both talented enough to go well this week and win the Fourth Quarter should Federer falter.