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2019 Shanghai Masters: Nadal A Late Withdrawal

Robert Duff

by Robert Duff in Tennis

Updated Apr 8, 2020 · 4:54 PM PDT

Rafael Nadal shouting
The late withdrawal of Rafael Nadal from the ATP Shanghai Masters leaves Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer as favorites to win the title. Photo by Carine06 (Flickr).
  • The ATP Shanghai Masters was supposed to bring the “Big Three” back together for the first time since the US Open
  • That hope ended Friday, when world #2 Rafael Nadal withdrew from the event
  • With World #1 Novak Djokovic and #3 Roger Federer still in the draw, read below to find our prediction

The ATP Shanghai Masters was supposed to bring the Big Three of men’s tennis back together in competition for the first time since the 2019 US Open.

Well, as Meat Loaf famously warbled, two out of three ain’t bad.

The dream of seeing the top-three players battling it out  – World #1 Novak Djokovic, #2 Rafael Nadal, and #3 Roger Federer – was crushed early Friday when Nadal announced that he was withdrawing from the event.

2019 ATP Shanghai Masters Men’s Singles Odds

Player 2019 ATP Shanghai Masters Men’s Singles Odds
Novak Djokovic +150
Roger Federer +400
Daniil Medvedev +650
Alex Zverev +1200
Dominic Thiem +1400
Stefanos Tsitsipas +1800
Karen Khachanov +2500
Roberto Bautista-Agut +3300
Andy Murray +4000
David Goffin +4000
Gael Monfils +4000
Marin Cilic +4000

Odds taken on 10/05/19.

Djokovic (four) and Federer (two) have won six of the past seven titles in this event. The Shanghai Masters is the eighth of nine ATP Masters 1000 events. It’s played outdoors on hard-courts and is the only 1000-level event that is not held in either North America or Europe.

Nadal Shanghais Shanghai Masters

The crew was all aboard. The excitement was abuzz. And then Nadal’s announcement Friday was a giant buzzkill.

The Spanish star and reigning US and French Open champion was forced to withdraw due to a left wrist injury.

It’s the same ailment that required Nadal to pull out after beating Canada’s Milos Raonic in his first singles match at last month’s Laver Cup in Geneva, Switzerland.

That was Nadal’s first action since defeating Daniil Medvedev in the US Open final.

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Nadal has never won the Shanghai Masters. He lost in the final in 2009 and 2017. This year, though, he had high hopes .

Nadal was coming into the event riding an 11-match winning streak. He’d posted victories in 28 of his last 29 matches, capturing his 12th French Open and fourth US Open crowns as part of his hot streak.

Door Open For Djokovic

The departure of Nadal positions Djokovic well to close the gap on the Spaniard in the ATP Masters points race.

Coming into this week, the Serbian trailed Nadal by 1,960 points in the ATP Race to London. This tracker is an indicator of where players will be positioned by the end of the season.

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Nole could earn 500 points if he wins the Tokyo title this weekend, where Djokovic will face John Millman in the final. He’d garner another 1,000 points by winning in Shanghai.

A Two-Horse Race?

Since 2010, just three players have won the Shanghai Masters men’s singles title, and they’ll all be there there this year.

Djokovic (2012, 2013, 2015, 2018), Federer (2014, 2017), and Andy Murray (2010, 2011, 2016) have divided the last nine tournament titles.

Murray is still rebounding from hip surgery, but stunned US Open semi-finalist Matteo Berrettini 7-6(7-2), 7-6(9-7) earlier this week in Beijing. He reached his first singles quarter-final in a year before being toppled by top-seeded Dominic Thiem 6-2, 7-6(7-3) on Friday.

As romantic as it would be to see Murray make a run, a Djokovic-Federer final is certainly the more likely outcome.

Even though at least one of them has appeared in seven finals, overall, and in six of the last seven finals, Djokovic and Federer have never clashed with the Shanghai Masters title on the line.

Sleepers to Consider

Medvedev is playing as consistently as anyone on the ATP Tour. He recently reached the finals in back-to-back ATP Masters events, winning in Cincinnati and losing the Rogers Cup final to Nadal.

The world #4 has made it to the final in each of his last five tournaments. The only other players on tour who’ve done that are Nadal, Djokovic, Federer, and Murray.

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World #10 Roberto Bautista Agut was in the 2016 Shanghai Masters final. He’s 22-9 in hard-court matches this season.

The Month of the Joker

The Joker is big in the theaters, and tennis’ version will be big on court in Shanghai.

Opportunity is knocking for Djokovic to make a major move in the ATP Race To London. Great players don’t let chances like that slip away.

Pick: Novak Djokovic (+150)

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