Shanghai first-round picks, including Del Potro vs. Basilashvili and Khachanov vs. Tsitsipas

The Asian swing reaches a zenith–and also comes to an end–this week with the Shanghai Rolex Masters. Roger Federer is back in official ATP Tour action for the first time since the U.S. Open, while Rafael Nadal is bidding for a second title in two weeks. But before the top two players in the world take the court following first-round byes, Monday’s schedule has plenty to offer.

Picks

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 face Paire–who just retired from a Tokyo match against Sugita. Tiafoe in 3.

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

Kyle Edmund vs. Jiri Vesely: Watching paint dry is probably more fun than witnessing this matchup. That being said, the previous encounter between Edmund and Vesely was a good one (the Brit won 8-6 in a third-set tiebreaker at last season’s Miami Masters). 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 Shanghai field. But Wu has been  especially dismal of late and Chardy at least managed to qualify for the main draw. Chardy 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 an actual tennis match to…wait for it…Bernard Tomic in Tokyo. Ramos-Vinolas in 3.

(Q) Stefanos Tsitsipas vs. Karen Khachanov: Tsitsipas is something like 0-250 in his career on the main tour. Will he finally get his first victory at the ATP level? This is actually a good opportunity–but not good enough. Khachanov in 3.

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

Andrey Rublev vs. Damir Dzumhur: Speaking of rematches, Rublev and Dzumhur squared off in the U.S. Open third round, with the Russian prevailing in four sets on his eventual way to the quarters. Dzumhur, however, is completely on fire these days. Dzumhur in 3.

Robin Haase vs. Richard Gasquet: Gasquet is 5-1 lifetime against Haase, including 2-0 in 2017. The Frenchman has been in decent form this fall, so that trend should continue. Gasquet in 2.

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




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