10 Things To Watch In Shanghai
1. Federer vs. Djokovic: Two-time champion Roger Federer and three-time champion Novak Djokovic will battle for No. 2 in the ATP Rankings this week at the Rolex Shanghai Masters. Federer leads Djokovic by 455 points entering the tournament. But the Swiss is defending 1,000 points as the reigning champion. Djokovic missed the 2017 event and is not defending any points.
2. Advantage Federer: As the top two seeds, Federer and Djokovic could meet in the Rolex Shanghai Masters final for the first time. Djokovic leads their head-to-head 24-22 overall, but Federer is 2-0 in Shanghai with straight-set wins in the 2010 and 2014 semi-finals. Since starting the 2018 season a career-best 17-0, Federer is 19-6 with only one title at the ATP World Tour 250 event in Stuttgart.
3. Race for No. 1: If he wins a record fourth Shanghai title, Djokovic will trail World No. 1 Rafael Nadal by just 35 points in the ATP Race to London. The Race becomes the year-end rankings following the Nitto ATP Finals. Both Djokovic and Nadal are trying to finish No. 1 for the fifth time. Djokovic is 65-9 overall in China with 10 championships and the Beijing Olympics bronze medal.
4. Don’t Forget Delpo: Besides Federer and Djokovic, Juan Martin del Potro can be the World No. 2 on 15 October. Del Potro hopes to end a 13-year run of Big Four dominance. Federer, Nadal, Djokovic and Andy Murray are the only men to have been ranked in the Top 2 since 25 July 2005.
5. Eyes on London: Nadal, Federer, Djokovic and Del Potro have qualified for the Nitto ATP Finals. Four spots in the year-end championships remain and the next four men in line are playing at the Rolex Shanghai Masters: Alexander Zverev, Marin Cilic, Kevin Anderson and Dominic Thiem.
6. 10 Quick Titles: Zverev’s next ATP World Tour title will be the 10th of his career. The 21-year-old German has until 20 April 2019 to join the likes of Nadal, Djokovic and Murray among the players to win 10 championships before turning 22. Federer won his 10th title following his 22nd birthday.
Read Draw Preview: Federer, Delpo Could Clash In Shanghai SF
7. Big Birthday: No Grand Slam men’s singles champions are currently under the age of 30 following Cilic’s 30th birthday on 28 September. There are three Grand Slam runners-up still in their twenties: Thiem (2018 Roland Garros), Milos Raonic (2016 Wimbledon) and Kei Nishikori (2014 US Open).
8. Twice as Nice: When Anderson played in the 2017 US Open championship match as a 31-year-old, he became the oldest first-time Grand Slam finalist since Niki Pilic at 1973 Roland Garros. Unlike Pilic, Anderson is not a one-Slam wonder. He reached the Wimbledon final this summer.
9. Thiem’s Travails: Thiem leads the ATP World Tour with 48 victories in 2018. But he’s yet to play this season in China, where he’s struggled to a 3-7 career record across appearances in Shanghai, Beijing and Chengdu. Thiem suffered second-round Shanghai losses in 2014, 2015 and 2017.
10. Next is Now: Nineteen-year-old #NextGenATP stars Denis Shapovalov and Alex de Minaur are among the Next Gen ATP Finals contenders competing in Shanghai. As of 1 October, Shapovalov has achieved a new career-high ranking 11 times this season and de Minaur has done so 16 times.