Shanghai R1 previews and predictions: Kyrgios vs. Johnson, Anderson vs. Mannarino

Nick Kyrgios will be back in action following a runner-up performance in Beijing when he takes the court against Steve Johnson at the Shanghai Masters on Tuesday. The first-round schedule is also wrapping up with a showdown between Kevin Anderson and Adrian Mannarino.

Steve Johnson vs. (13) Nick Kyrgios

Kyrgios’ fall swing is off to a fine start as he heads into first-round action at the Shanghai Rolex Masters on Tuesday. In fact, the only players to have defeated him–albeit in the span of just seven matches–during this stretch are two of the hottest players on tour right now (David Goffin in the Davis Cup semifinals between Australia and Belgium, and Rafael Nadal in Sunday’s Beijing title match). Prior to his setback against Nadal, the world No. 21 beat Nikoloz Basilashvili, Mischa Zverev, Steve Darcis, and Alexander Zverev.

Up first for Kyrgios in Shanghai is Johnson, whom he has never faced. The American is in mediocre form at No. 45 in the rankings, but he is coming off a solid performance in Tokyo. That’s where he ousted Dominic Thiem and Alexandr Dolgopolov before succumbing to a red-hot Diego Schwartzman. As the more talented of the two players and certainly with a significant edge on the backhand side, Kyrgios controls the outcome of this contest. That can sometimes be a bad thing for him, but he is playing with confidence thanks to his Beijing performance so he should get the job done without too much trouble.

Pick: Kyrgios in 2

(11) Kevin Anderson vs. Adrian Mannarino

Both Anderson and Mannarino recently played in the biggest finals of their careers–one far bigger than the other–as they prepare to face each other for the fourth time on Tuesday. Anderson, of course, finished runner-up to Rafael Nadal at the U.S. Open. Mannarino missed out on his first ATP title (again), falling to 0-4 in finals with a loss to David Goffin at the Japan Open on Sunday.

Anderson also played in Tokyo but suffered at early second-round exit at the hands of Ryan Harrison. The South African is still a decent 30-17 for the season, including an especially impressive 17-6 in his last 23 matches dating back to Wimbledon. Mannarino defeated Go Soeda, Jiri Vesely, Yuichi Sugita, and Marin Cilic in Tokyo before running into a red-hot Goffin. The Frenchman is now up to No. 29 in the rankings and in position to be seeded for the 2018 Australian Open. This is an intriguing contrast between Anderson’s offense and Mannarino’s defense, and it is Anderson who leads the head-to-head series 2-1 at the ATP level (all on outdoor hard courts). This should be an entertaining and high-quality affair, with a slight edge going to the world No. 15 in part because he may have more left in his tank than Mannarino.

Pick: Anderson in 3

49 Comments on Shanghai R1 previews and predictions: Kyrgios vs. Johnson, Anderson vs. Mannarino

  1. Steve Johnson vs. (13) Nick Kyrgios

    Johnson can upset Kyrgios as Kyr is highly unpredictable/ Look how well he played against Zverev and then look how he got trashed by Nadal the very next day.

    After the trashing by Nadal, Kyrgios will be having lots of asthmatic attacks, confidence issues etc. Johnson who plays solidly can upset an unreliable Kyrgios.

    Liking the over here as Johnson with good form and a powerful serve & volley will fight and take it to the decider.

    (11) Kevin Anderson vs. Adrian Mannarino

    It is Kevin. Oh Ya!lol

    Mannarino injured his quads in the 2nd set of the finals vs Goffin in the Tokyo Open. He was clutching his thighs and stopping play for many seconds between points. The commentators were also talking about some kind of injury to Mannarino.

    With just 1.5 days rest and travel from Tokyo to Shanghai included, I don’t think Mannarino would have recovered from that Injury and tiredness playing 4 or 5 matches in 1 week.

    Moreover, Mannarino might be drunk with Italian wine,Beer,ladies(lol) etc. after partying heavily with the big check he received as runner up in the Tokyo Open! Kevin should finish Mannarino even before Mannarino is awake from his intoxication!lol

    Who ya got? or What you got(not in your bank but won’t mind)? Answer any one question. Not Both!ha,ha,ha…

  2. Your analysis makes sense but we will have 2 C what he(Nick) does, i think Kyrgios might meet Rafito in the semis or quarter final i haven’t seen the draw and that might be an extra motivation but we will C.
    Honestly Rafa is Hot right now and this clay thing about him is not true and it might be an excuse, he is balling, tennis is tennis no matter where it is played, obviously the balls react differently on different surfaces but a good tennis player and one who has played lots of tennis on different surfaces will get use to it and adjust properly.

    This doesn’t mean tennis players don’t have favourite surfaces, stats don’t lie.

    Frances Tiafoe won, well done.
    H. Chung won, surprised but he is a good player.
    R. Gasquet won, i thought he was losing the 2nd set but he won in 3 well done.
    K. Khachanov lost, Stefanos Tsitsipas is doing well.

    My boy D. Goffin and my BABY C. Garcia made me proud but i don’t see D. Goffin going too far in shanghai, Caroline pulled out from Tiajin WTA because of injury, she would have met M. Sharapova but she needs her rest.

    R. Federer might win shanghai, i wish him & A. Zverev the best.

    • Yup. Nick is one of the most interesting players in the game today.

      His demons are purely mental (not unlike those of a certain Spaniard from 2014-2016).

      • Totally unlike! Rafa’s “mental injury” was a result of a cumulation of physical injuries, resulting in anxiety on court. NK has, among other things, major problems with emotional control. Deadly to a pro tennis player’s career. Not unusual in a teen age pro but NK should be well past that at 22. He’s aware of it. I hope he gets some help with it.

        • Ramara says AT 9:07 AM: “Rafa’s “mental injury” was a result of a cumulation of physical injuries, resulting in anxiety on court.”
          ===
          You are correct. I have replied the same to the same poster a zillion times. 🙂

    • Yeah I generally love Nick but was kinda down on him after Beijing final but I was unaware that a bogus line call had thrown him off. He really is a great person. Just misunderstood.

  3. When are they going to stop the glorification of Nick Kyrgios? He is not worth it. He is pulling the wool over everyone’s eyes that he is this great colossus hovering over the men’s game. C’mon, he’s achieved nothing to write home about, he is ranked 21 in the world after 4 years as a pro.

    Enough of the adulation.

  4. WATCH: Uninjured Kyrgios quits mid-match in Shanghai

    October 10, 2017 5:31am EDTOctober 10, 2017 5:09am EDTNot this again.

    Brendan Bradford
    Updated at 5:31 a.m. ET

    Less than a week after making it all the way to the final of the China Open, Nick Kyrgios has thrown in the towel at the Shanghai Masters.

    Playing American Steve Johnson, Kyrgios was visibly frustrated throughout the first set, appearing to give up at times.

    The Aussie pushed Johnson to 6-6, but the 12 games he was on court were punctuated by angry outbursts and fits of profanity.

    He was slapped with a code violation after hitting his ball away in frustration when he successfully challenged the chair umpire.

    At the start of the tiebreak, he argued with the umpire over a call, but quickly went up 3-0.

    After an epic rally in the sixth point of the tie-break, Kyrgios complained about how tired he was as the crowd became restless.

    It was clear he mentally wasn’t in the match and remonstrated with the chair umpire on numerous occasions.

    Kyrgios was hit with a point penalty in the tiebreak for an audible oscenity.

    He then yelled that if he lost the set he would retire from the match in protest at the officiating.

    Which he did.

    The Australian didn’t show any physical signs of struggling and refused medical help at what would have been a change of ends.

    Johnson had no idea why Kyrgios walked off.
    Stevie Johnson and umpire Fergus Murphy confused and trying to figure out why Kyrgios actually retired after he lost TB 6-7(5).
    10:16 AM – Oct 10, 2017

  5. I just watched the Curious v Johnson “match” if you want to call it that. One of the most bizarre I’ve seen and that is saying something. It was clear from the start that NK was not “in the mood”. Maybe tired and disappointed from Beijing plus high heat/humidity (so the commentators said – most players did not appear to be suffering unduly). Anyway NK wasn’t rallying, just serving aces, both 1st and 2nd serves. Lost the TB on a point penalty plus a brilliant overhead smash from Johnson near the end of the TB so Johnson won the 1st set. NK then walked to the net, shook hands with Johnson and the umpire and that was that. “Spoiled brat” sums it up nicely. I don’t care how much physical talent this guy has. With nothing in his head he’s going nowhere fast.

    • I should add that M Zverev had retired at the end of the 2nd set in his match vs Struff, apparently due to loss of conditioning from the heat/humidity.

  6. Ramara OCTOBER 10, 2017 AT 10:26 AM
    I just watched the Curious v Johnson “match” if you want to call it that. One of the most bizarre I’ve seen and that is saying something. It was clear from the start that NK was not “in the mood”. Maybe tired and disappointed from Beijing plus high heat/humidity ………….
    _________________________________________________________________
    More excuses for this clown. Why are people so gullible?

  7. So Nick just walked away like that. This weakens the oppositions hope to bring Rafa down. Like the recent US Open, Shanghai draw is opening to an easy path for Rafa to the finals. Lucas just lost the first set in a tiebreaker and down a break ATM.

    I thought it was Rafa who gets a bit tense upon seeing the Shanghai draw as most of whom he played in Beijing are stacked up in half of his draw.

  8. Lucas lost to Fabio in straight sets. It weakens further the oppositions hope :-). Let’s see if Rafa can win his match tomorrow against Jared. Wish he does and reach finals 🙂 for a another FEDAL championship match.

    • Nick is No. 15 in the race being a goof and tanks half the time.

      Look out if he ever manages to commit to the game.

      #MentalProblema

      • At #144 in the rankings, I don’t think Tomic even automatically qualifies for the qualifying rounds anymore. Kyrgios is going that way. No amount of hype will give him points in the rankings. The sooner they both end up on the challenger circuit the better. I won’t miss them.

        • Kyrgios will leave the game completely before he falls that low… He’s only still doing it because he is good enough where he can stay in the top 30 while only giving decent effort half the time. Tomic is not remotely good enough to eat away with not trying half the time. As much as Kyrgios is exactly the type of dude that I can’t stand, it also angers me because it really is such a waste of talent. He is good enough that he has no excuse for not truly challenging for the title at AO, Wimby, and US Open every year, and at least making the semis at those three majors. He’s the only guy who truly has the ability to beat the Big 4 guys at the majors without it just being a fluke. As Hawkeye suggested above, it would be scary how great he could be if he gave a shit and played with passion and drive. Unfortunately he just doesn’t care. I can’t stand his personality. It’s great that he goes out of his way to help disadvantaged people, but he just acts as if everyone is an uncool idiot and he is better than everyone. He reminds me of a cocky high school Jock. I’d like to give him the benefit of the doubt that he will grow up and stop taking his insecurities out on others, but I’m given him the benefit of the doubt so many times and he seems absolutely incapable of showing any humility. Anyone can post an article online SAYING that they want to be a better person. He needs to SHOW us that he is interested in humbling himself and treating people as equals. Until then, how are we supposed to believe that those articles he writes are not just desperate attempts by his PR manager. His body language, his facial expressions, his actions- they are all of a person who is just downright mean-spirited at heart. He has given us no reason to believe that he is not a mean-spirited bully.

          I honestly thought that he had maybe turned over a new leaf when I saw him cry after losing that LC match to Federer. It showed that he seemingly really did care about winning. It seemed like he clearly had truly wanted to win! But judging by the Beijing final and his match yesterday, I was clearly wrong…

          • Kygrios will always have injury issues, given his height and his built. He’s already injury prone while not competing much or going deep in tournaments. Winning slams is never easy, I doubt he can win one when the big four are in full force. Sure, he may beat one of them but can he beat two or even three of them in a slam? I doubt so! Unless of course when the big four themselves are out injured, even then, he still needs to be fit and healthy to last for seven matches to win a slam.

            He may win a slam or two in his career when he decides to work hard for it (and when the big four are no longer the forces they used to be) but he’s too injury prone that I don’t think he’ll become a world beater; perhaps a Safin, not a Fed or Rafa!

            • No Ricky, I’m assuming that even if Kygrios is willing to put in the hard yards, he would still have injury problems as issues hindering him in his career. My post was in response to Kevin’s, which mentioned that Kygrios ought to be winning slams based on his talent if he put in his efforts.

          • About the Beijing final, as I mentioned in one of my earlier posts, it’s Kyrgios’ character, that when things get tough and he feels it’s too hard for him to conquer the problem, he’ll simply not try hard enough and wants to run away from the problem.

            It’s not like Kygrios wanted to give up in the final right away; it’s because of how Rafa played; Kygrios simply couldn’t gain an upperhand in any of the points, when his biggest asset, ie his serves, kept coming back with interest. He got frustrated and that wrong call against him in his first service game had given him the excuse to vent his frustration (to me it’s like a mental escape from a problem he had at hand).

            He would only fight hard when he feels that he has the upper hand and has good chances of winning.

            • I don’t see Kyrgios winning slams. He is too injury prone and also doesn’t have the stamina and mental toughness to win seven Bof5 set matches.

              I agree that when it gets tough in a match, Kyrgios bails. He doesn’t want to put in the effort to hang in there and change strategy or tactics and problem solve. He wants it to be easy.

              I just don’t know if he will be competitive in slams even as the top four get older and then retire. There are other young guys who seem more willing to put in the hard work to keep getting better. Kyrgios seems to want to rely on his natural talent.

              I think Safin is an interesting comparison. I thought he would be the next #1 player. He was so naturally gifted. But his temperament did him in. He let his emotions get the best of him and did not have the mental focus and concentration to win more. I also think Fed coming on the scene back then changed things. I remember the tennis channel replaying a great match at the 2005 AO semifinal with Fed and Safin. That was Safin at his best. He beat Fed and had to throw everything at him. Safin managed to win two slams but should have won more.

              I just don’t see Kyrgios having a lot of success when he just phones it in so often.

            • I agree with Ricky. I do think that the injuries are the least of the problems facing Kyrgios. Injuries are a part of the sport. Many players have had to deal with injuries, some more than others. But Kyrgios has other far more serious problems.

  9. I Try to give them a chance, give them the benefit of the doubt, same with Gulbis, Tomic, Kyrigios whom are all greatly talented, but they seem to be their own worst enemy, they should take a leaf from the likes of Zverev, Thiem, Rublev, whom all seem to be going about the business of improving their own games, and not wasting nervous energy ranting and raving ….

    • Kyrgios is a long way from the challenger circuit. But he is also not progressing and realizing his potential. I don’t know why anyone is surprised with him anymore. He has sabotaged his career repeatedly. He does not have the true passion and love for the sport to put in the effort and make the sacrifices to be successful.

      He may well end up on the challenger circuit, but I would not yet put him in the same class as Tomic. But I just don’t know why anyone would be surprised at this point when he just doesn’t bring it. He’s been doing this for some time now.

      Young guys like Zverev, Theim, Goffin, Rublev and Khachanov seem motivated and willing to work to be their best. Kyrgios is not going to wake up one day and suddenly have a change of heart.

    • Sheesh, he sounds like a little kid explaining why he didn’t do his homework. “My dog ate it, I had a bellyache, the monster under my bed kept me awake all night. Can I go out and play with Johnny now?”

      • Ramara,

        I agree! It’s pathetic! Kyrgios has tanked matches in the past. His excuses sounded really lame.

        For a young man who is so full of himself with such arrogance, he sure has no problem whining like a child when it’s convenient!

  10. I want to chat but i am tired, exhausted to the end.

    Ramara 4give me 4 copy this, it’s beautiful.
    “He sounds like a little kid explaining why he didn’t do his homework. “My dog ate it, I had a bellyache, the monster under my bed kept me awake all night. Can I go out and play with Johnny now?”

    This is beautiful, a classic and i am guilty 4 using one of those lines more than a decade ago.
    Good night everybody, i am sleeping early 2day, C U 2morrow.

    My favourite- The monster under my bed kept me awake all night. Can I go out and play with Johnny now? Lol!
    who is Johnny? Lol!

  11. He could have hit Johnson off the court but instead played far too passive .
    I knew he’d never follow up last weeks form,but still couldn’t believe how he walked off. I’m not convinced about the injury.

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