Shanghai Masters Quarter Finals: Preview and Predictions
After five days of often terrific and sometimes, shambolic performances from the planet’s best male tennis players, we have now arrived at the Quarter Final stage of the Shanghai Masters.
Though some top players like Juan Martin del Potro, Marin Cilic and Milos Raonic have fallen by the wayside, the quarterfinal line up still boasts of excellent platers. Apart from Novak Djokovic and the fan favourite Roger Federer, the quarterfinals will feature the likes of Alexander Zverev, Kei Nishikori and Kevin Anderson.
Here is a preview of the four quarterfinal matches.
Quarter Final 1: Alexander Zverev Vs. Kyle Edmund
The first quarter-final pits the world number five, Alexander Zverev, against a much improved British Number 1, Kyle Edmund.
Zverev, who was struggling with cold in his first match, had little trouble dispatching the new Australian no. 1, Alex de Minaur, in the previous round. The nineteen-year-old Aussie was simply blown away by the power and superior baseline play of the young German.
Zverev seems to be back in top shape and form. Having defeated the Australian numero uno, he now has a chance to defeat the British number one. Though Edmund is no more the brash temperamental player he once was and has improved by leaps and bounds in the last couple of years, if both players play at their best level, Zverev’s superior all-round ability should see him through in this match.
Prediction: Zverev to win in two sets
Quarter Final 2: Novak Djokovic Vs. Kevin Anderson
The second quarter-final will be a rematch of this year’s Wimbledon final. One just hopes that this match will not be as one-sided as that, when an exhausted Kevin Anderson, coming off two back-to-back gruelling marathon matches, was simply rolled over by the fitter, fresher, and admittedly-superior Serb.
This time around, Anderson is coming off a straight-set victory over his nemesis Stefanos Tsitsipas, against whom this was his first victory in three attempts. Djokovic too must be high on confidence after trouncing Italian Marco Cecchinato, who had famously defeated the Serb at the French Open this year.
Djokovic seems to be extremely motivated at the moment. With his injury worries behind him and two back to back grand slams in his kitty, he sees the year-end Number 1 spot as a real possibility. The added incentive should help him sail through this match against the South African.
Prediction: Djokovic to win in two sets
Quarter Final 3: Borna Coric Vs. Matthew Ebden
The third quarter-final maybe the least high profile of the four matches, but it may well turn out to be the most evenly matched and hence the most competitive.
Though the young Croatian is a much higher ranked player at number 19, compared to the Australian’s 51, Ebden is made more in the mould of the Lleyton Hewitt. He embraces the never-say-die attitude.
Ebden has already defeated more fancied players like Dominic Thiem and Francis Tiafoe in his career so far. There is no reason why he cannot put it past the Croatian youngster in the Round of 16. Coric may be the fresher one due to del Potro retiring mid-way through their Round of 16 match, but Ebden seems looks hungry for a win right now.
This would be a tight and competitive encounter, but the older and more experienced player should be able to pull through at the end.
Prediction: Ebden to win in three tight sets
Quarter Final 4: Roger Federer Vs. Kei Nishikori
The last quarter-final is undoubtedly the most high profile of the four matches, with the top seed defending champion Roger Federer set to play against the Japanese Number 1, Kei Nishikori, who seems to be back to his best after serious injury issues over the last few months.
A title, however, seems to have been eluding Nishikori for a long time. He lost his best chance to end this drought before home crowd at the Japan Open when he lost to Daniil Medvedev in the final this year.
Nishikori is also in contention for the year-end ATP world tour event, though. A deep run here, if not the title itself, is essential for him to remain in contention. These are added incentives for the Japanese who must feel that he is in with a chance against Federer, who does not quite seem to be in top form at the moment.
But the fact is even when he is not fully at the top of his game, Federer still finds a way to cross the finish line, as he has shown countless times in his long career, including two matches in this very tournament. The Swiss maestro is likely to raise his game a notch against a player of remarkable talent and tenacity, and book his place in the semi-final.
Prediction: Federer to win in three Sets