The penultimate Masters 1000 Series event of the season rolls into Shanghai this week, where Roger Federer will be looking to defend a title he won in fine style last season. Hopefully punters who took our advice about 28/1 betting shot Daniil Medvedev in Tokyo last week cleaned up and we are hoping to make it back to back winning weeks in Shanghai.
It was American writer Patricia Marx who once said ‘New York may be the city that never sleeps, but Shanghai doesn’t even sit down, and not just because there is no room’. And organisers will be hoping it is standing room only if the seeds hold on China’s central coast, with Federer, Novak Djokovic, Juan Martin Del Potro and Alexander Zverev ably supported by the likes of Kei Nishikori, Marín Cilic and Dominic Thiem.
Punters need to be careful at this time of year as normally reliable players are often left running on fumes or winding down their schedule. For instance I wouldn’t back ‘Sascha’ Zverev with stolen money in Shanghai. He looked jaded and irritable as he was shocked in Beijing by Malek Jaziri and the exertions of a season where he has been extremely busy, especially in early summer, may now be taking their toll. Nishikori, a finalist in Tokyo, could also be fatigued while both Cilic and Thiem are out of sorts.
Federer, the old maestro, is at least well rested and has an impressive 18-4 record here. However he has suffered an alarming dip in form over the past few months and he could be vulnerable in Asia.
This Swiss has also been handed a tough path to the final. He could even fall at the first hurdle as he’s set to face Medvedev, a young gunslinger who will be full of confidence after that win in Tokyo. Even if he comes through that a prospective third round clash with former World No 3 Milos Raonic awaits.
Del Porto is also in the same half but the Argentine blew in on Sunday as a big odds on favourite in the final of the China Open when losing to Nicoloz Basilashvili.
However it emerged later that ‘Delpo’ has been battling a major cold all week so with this in mind just getting to the final was quite an effort. It also shows his mindset at this time of year as other players in a similar situation might have tanked and had the rest of the week off.
Unlike last week it’s hard to make a case for any big price outsiders here and historically the event has been dominated by the Tour’s elite stars. Indeed you have to go back to 2009 and Nikolay Davydenko for the last time Shanghai was won by a player outside of the ‘Big Four’.
Out of the big boys Djokovic looks the obvious choice. A good draw, rock solid form since the summer and a brilliant 27-4 record here means there is much to like about current 13/8 betting quotes. He also has the added motivation of chasing the year-ending world No 1 spot.
In the top half Del Potro – presuming he’s over that cold – makes plenty of appeal to continue his recent resurgence among the game’s elite.
Bilko’s Betting Banker: Novak Djokovic to win the Shanghai Masters at 2/1 (bet365)
Best of the Rest: Juan Martin Del Potro to win the Shanghai Masters at 8/1 (bet365)
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