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10sBalls • Tennis Shares Ricky’s Picks For The Shanghai Rolex Masters First Round

Ricky’s picks for the Shanghai Rolex Masters first round


By Ricky Dimon


The Asian swing is coming to an end this week as it reaches its high point in the form of the Shanghai Rolex Masters. Roger Federer is returning to action while Rafael Nadal is aiming for a second title in as many weeks, having just triumphed in Beijing. But before the top two seeds take the court in the wake of opening byes, the first-round schedule continues on Monday and Tuesday.


Ricky breaks down all of the first-round matchups and makes his predictions.


(10) Sam Querrey vs. Yuichi Sugita: This is a classic contrast of styles, with Querrey’s huge-hitting game being put to the test by Sugita’s counter-punching. And it should be especially fun, too, with both players in fine form. Querrey in 3.


Benoit Paire vs. (Q) Frances Tiafoe. Tiafoe has been mostly unsuccessful so far making the transition from Challengers to the main tour. But he will be confident having qualified for the Shanghai main draw. And he will be confident because he gets to play Paire–who just retired from a match in Tokyo against Sugita. Tiafoe in 3.


(WC) Ze Zhang vs. Ryan Harrison: If you think Tiafoe has a good draw, how about this American? Harrison, who upset Kevin Anderson in Tokyo, gets to go up against a Chinese wild card. Harrison in 2.


Kyle Edmund vs. Jiri Vesely: Watching paint dry is probably more fun than this. That being said, the previous meeting between Edmund and Vesely was a good one (the Brit prevailed 8-6 in a third-set tiebreaker last year in Miami). Edmund in 2.


(Q) Jeremy Chardy vs. (WC) Di Wu: Based on current form, these are without question two of the worst players in the entire tournament. But Wu has been an especially big disaster of late and Chardy at least managed to qualify this weekend. Chardy in 3.


Steve Johnson vs. (13) Nick Kyrgios. Kyrgios has been featured on Deadspin several times for various instances of bizarre behavior. Johnson made it on Deadspin because his combination of outfit and mustache in Tokyo made him look like Luigi. As for actual analysis of this matchup, Kyrgios is coming off a runner-up finish in Beijing. Kyrgios in 2.


(11) Kevin Anderson vs. Adrian Mannarino: This should be a great one. Anderson is a bit overrate right now because he made it to the U.S. Open final. Mannarino is always one of the most underrated players on tour. This will be much close than the ranking suggest. A slight edge goes to the South African because Mannarino endured a longer week in Tokyo (runner-up). Anderson in 3.


Mischa Zverev vs. Jan-Lennard Struff. Prediction: the German will win. Zverev in 3.


Albert Ramos-Vinolas vs. Joao Sousa: Ramos-Vinolas has not been great since the clay-court swing, but all you need to know is that Sousa actually lost a match to Bernard Tomic in Tokyo. Ramos-Vinolas in 3.


Viktor Troicki vs. (WC) Denis Shapovalov. Shapovalov has been so good that he is now getting wild cards into tournaments far away from home (even though the U.S.Open didn’t give him one). Troicki, on the other hand, has been far from good this year. Shapovalov in 2.


(Q) Stefanos Tsitsipas vs. Karen Khachanov: Tsitsipas is something like 0-8,000 in his career at the ATP level. Will he finally get his first victory on the main tour? This is actually a good opportunity with Khachanov out of form–but not good enough. Khachanov in 3.


(Q) Dusan Lajovic vs. (12) John Isner: Isner played well in Beijing before running into Nadal. The American has a much better draw in Shanghai, and he won’t let it go to waste in the first round. Isner in 2.


(16) Juan Martin Del Potro vs. (Q) Nikoloz Basilashvili. Del Potro will win this with ease. And that is good news, too, because it would be fun to see him go up against Alexander Zverev in the third round, Dominic Thiem (rematch!) in the quarters, and Federer (rematch!) in the semis. Del Potro in 2.


Andrey Rublev vs. Damir Dzumhur: Speaking of rematches, Rublev and Dzumhur went head-to-head in the U.S. Open third round, with the Russian winning in four sets on his way to the quarterfinals. Dzumhur, though, is completely on fire right now. Dzumhur in 3.


Aljaz Bedene vs. Poalo Lorenzi: Who cares? Winner gets waxed by Zverev in round two. Lorenzi in 2.


Robin Haase vs. Richard Gasquet: Gasquet is 5-1 lifetime against Haase, including 2-0 this season. The Frenchman has been in decent form this fall, so that trend should continue. Gasquet in 2.


Hyeon Chung vs. (9) Roberto Bautista Agut: Bautista Agut body-slammed Chung 6-0, 6-1 in their only previous encounter (Dubai in 2016). There is no reason to think this one will be much more competitive. Bautista Agut in 2.


(14) Jack Sock vs. (Q) Alexandr Dolgopolov: Judging from his recent results, Sock may want to stick to doubles the rest of the season. It won’t help that Dolgopolov is suddenly playing stellar tennis. Dolgopolov in 2.


Feliciano Lopez vs. Ivo Karlovic: Karlovic lost in straight sets–with no tiebreakers (!!!!)–to Matthew Eben in Tokyo. Matthew Ebden. Lopez in 2.


Diego Schwartzman vs. (Q) Jordan Thompson: Thompson basically hasn’t been able to beat anyone other than Sock throughout the second half of this season. Almost nobody has been able to beat Schwartzman–at least not in the early rounds of any tournaments. Schwartzman in 2.


Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @Dimonator.


Men’s Singles: click here

Men’s Doubles: click here

Order of Play: click here

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