Roger Federer Handed Tough Draw In Shanghai Rolex Masters 1000
If I channelize my inner Chandler (of Friends fame), one look at the Shanghai Masters 1000 draw and I may quip: “Could Federer’s draw be any tougher?” My Gosh! Of all the top seeds, Roger seems to have been handed the toughest draw.
He is scheduled to meet the young Russian, Daniil Medvedev, in the second round. Medvedev is in the form of his life, and is scheduled to play Nishikori in the finals of the Japan Open. Medvedev’s hot streak has seen him dismissing Raonic and Shapovalov in straight sets in the Japan Open. Regardless of what happens in the final, he will be brimming with confidence when he meets Roger in the second round.
It’s going to be a tough start. Federer must be switched on from the word go, as he does not have the chance to ease into the tournament.
If seeds hold good, Roger would then go on to play the fit-again Canadian, Milos Raonic in the third round. Raonic will cause some discomfort to Federer with his booming serves, but I expect Roger to successfully pass this test. Raonic is still finding his way to top form.
In the quarter-final, Federer may run into the Japanese Kei Nishikori, another player who is slowly, but surely getting back to top form. Like Medvedev, he too will be full of confidence after his good show at the Japan Open. Again, Federer needs to be mentally switched on and be ready to run … a lot. Federer may have to hit multiple attacking to shots in a single rally to break the seemingly impenetrable defence of the Japanese.
If Roger can get it past Kei, then he may run into the resurgent Del Potro. There is also a chance that it could be Dominic Thiem. But given that it’s a fast surface, the Tower of Tandil has a better chance to reach the Semi Final from this side of the draw than the clay courter Thiem.
If that indeed is the case, this will be a repeat of their match in last year’s Shanghai Masters at the same stage, which Federer won in 3 gruelling sets. The match between Roger and Juan Martin will be a treat to watch. Since the time Del Potro denied Roger a sixth straight US Open Title in 2009, these two have been involved in some classics, for the ages. If they meet again this year, expect nothing less than a classic.
Finally, if Roger can overcome all these obstacles, he will most probably meet Novak Djokovic, who has a draw that can be considered a little less tough than that of Federer.
I expect Federer to wade through the tough challenges on the way to the final, and it is in the final that he may stumble against Novak who is back to his old world-conquering self.