Hi folks. Long time no post. It’s been a three week break but could have been twice that long had Roger decided to skip Shanghai. I think the North-American hard court season and Davis Cup took a lot out of Roger, but as long as he doesn’t play Paris I don’t see it being a problem. I think after what happened at the US Open Roger is not satisfied and he is still pushing hard for something better. And of course we as fans are very grateful that Roger is back. It is good timing for me too as for once the tennis is in my time zone being in Thailand, and the school holiday just started here so I hope Roger can do well in Shanghai. It won’t be easy though. Roger has a pretty decent draw up until the quarters, but then he could run into Nishikori who comes off a US Open final and back-to-back tournament wins in Kuala Lumpur and Tokyo. Clearly Nishikori is on a very impressive run.
Just to get back to last week quickly, Nishikori beat Raonic in a close encounter in the Tokyo final while Djokovic destroyed Berdych 6-0, 6-2. Nishikori looks to be the most promising young player right now although Thiem is coming up fast. As for Djokovic he is in devastating form and cemented himself as the king of Asia by remaining unbeaten in Beijing in five tournaments. Against Berdych he was serving for the double bagel at 6-0 and 5-0 but then played a poor game. Did he feel sorry for Berdych? Who knows but to me it’s a shame that he missed out on a very rare opportunity to bagel a player in a final, and more so since it was Berdych. And not necessarily because Berdych is always in the zone against Roger. I just don’t like Berdych very much. Back to the Shanghai draw and Roger will play his first match on Wednesday against the winner of Mayer and wild card Wu.
The most popular male tennis player in China swamped on arrival
So he will probably play Mayer. Then it looks like Bautista-Agut again or maybe Pospisil. Given Roger’s recent form he should make at least quarter finals then and thereby improve on last year’s third round exit against Monfils. He wouldn’t have come all the way to Shanghai to lose in the quarters though. And maybe winning two tournaments in two weeks will count against Nishikori as well. He is injury prone and from what I hear he is already struggling with an injury again. He could also be just tired in general. Nishikori has already got his work cut out for him if he wants to make quarters because he will play America’s biggest young hope in Sock in his first match, and then probably Dimitrov who looked impressive today in his first match against Istomin. So we can have another Federer vs his clone in the quarter finals too.
If Roger makes semis he is likely to face Djokovic again, but Djokovic has a tough draw as he got Thiem in the second round and a resurgent Murray in the quarters. Djokovic did beat Murray 6-3, 6-4 in Beijing, but Murray is playing better and better and will once again try to make life hard for Djokovic. Given Djokovic’s form he is the favorite to make the semis though. That would no doubt be a tough ask for Roger but should be fun if it happens anyway. I’d be fine with semis as it is. That would be a 270 point increase from last year and would help him to get closer to Nadal in the rankings, or even pass him if Nadal should lose before the semis. Nadal of course was upset in the quarters of Beijing by Klizan. I watched and it’s of course always a pleasure when attacking tennis wins over defensive base line grinding. This meant that Roger only needed to do better in Shanghai to pass Nadal in the rankings!
The key to success is having fun!
So it was a bit unfortunate that the Shanghai draw worked out as it did because Nadal got a a friendly draw compared to Roger and Djokovic. He has Raonic in his quarter though who could possibly take Nadal out if he plays really well. But these are very convenient draws for Nadal who is still trying to find form after his break. In Beijing it was also Djokovic who got Murray in his half. We will see. Maybe Raonic can upset Nadal and Roger can make semis to pass Nadal in the rankings. But if Nadal beats Raonic then he will probably make the final. But as we know with draws it hardly ever works out the way you expect so it’s rather pointless to look that deep. I just hope Roger can make semis at least in which case he has done his part and then it is up to Nadal to equal or better that. But the main thing is that Roger is back on court, playing well, and enjoying himself again!