Shanghai Masters 2016
The penultimate Masters 1000 tournament of the season sees Djokovic and Murray drawn to meet in the final. This would be the first time they have met since the final of the French Open. The Serb would appear to have the easier path, with Berdych, Kyrgios and Gasquet the higher seeds in his quarter. In fact, Novak could well be more concerned with facing Sam Querrey out of this section: the man who put him out of Wimbledon. However, Querrey is unlikely to get far enough to see this match-up and Novak should get through to the semi-finals.
It’s tough to call who his semi-final opponent could be, with the 2nd quarter of the draw very open. Nadal is still struggling and players like Cilic, Tsonga, Zverev and Bautista Agut could get past him. I am tempted to suggest that Tsonga is the most likely to get through here: he has a good record in Shanghai and was the finalist last year. However, this is his first tournament after an injury lay off, making him more of an unknown factor.
In the bottom half, Andy Murray finds himself in the unenviable position of finding wild card Del Potro in his quarter. In a best of three sets match here former finalist Del Potro could well win this encounter, should it happen. He won a marathon match in their Davis Cup encounter and was close in the final of the Olympics, before running out of gas. Murray remains the more likely to come through but this is far from a foregone conclusion.
The third quarter features some dangerous big hitters, notably Stan Wawrinka and Milos Raonic. However, I’m a little dubious about their prospects here and would not be surprised to see a more solid, defensive player squeeze through the section, such as Ferrer or Simon.
Overall I would suggest that a relatively stress free top half of the draw will see Djokovic end up in the best position to win his fourth title here.
To win: Djokovic. Best Odds 2.5:1 with Unibet
Great long shot odds: Del Potro. Best Odds 34:1 with Betfair Sportsbook