Novak Djokovic arrived at the ATP Shanghai Masters this week fresh off the back of his 5th victory in the China Open in Beijing, after crushing world no.6 Tomas Berdych.
The Serb is also gunning for a hat-trick of titles in Shanghai after beating Juan Martin del Potro and Andy Murray in the last two finals – and it’s very difficult to oppose him on current form here.
Sunday’s final score-line of 6-0 6-2 in Beijing was a truly stunning showcase of Djokovic’s talent, and it’s hard to imagine a performance with more authority in world tennis this year. Indeed, it should have been 6-0 6-0 but a momentary lapse on serve at 5-0 in the second set allowed Berdych to regain a modicum of dignity.
However, if Djokovich is to emerge victorious, he may have to beat Andy Murray, Roger Federer and Nadal, which is something nobody has ever accomplished on their way to victory. And with that in mind, even though I still fancy him to win, it seems a good idea to have a saver on his likeliest biggest danger Rafael Nadal.
Having missed the US swing, Nadal warmed up in Beijing last week, and he knows he’s going to have to stop Djockovic winning here if he’s to have any chance of reclaiming the no.1 spot by the end of the season. The draw is also very much in the Spaniard’s favour with his likely opponents on the way to the final being Lopez, Isner and Raonic, all of whom he has tremendous records against, whilst he also has outstanding records against likely semi-final opponents Wawrinka or Berdych.
Djokovic 4 points @ 5/4, general
Nadal 1 point @ 6/1 888, Unibet or 32Red
If you fancy a first round interest, try a best-priced Tuesday first-round match treble on Feliciano Lopez (8/15), Martin Klizan (4/9) and Jerzy Janowicz (2/5), with Coral.
First Round treble: 2-points – Feliciano Lopez @ 8/15, Martin Klizan @ 4/9 and Jerzy Janowicz @ (2/5), with Coral.