Shanghai R2 previews and predictions: Federer vs. Schwartzman, Lopez vs. Dolgopolov

Roger Federer will begin his bid for a second Shanghai title when he goes up against Diego Shwartzman on Wednesday. The second-round schedule is also wrapping up with a showdown between Feliciano Lopez and Alexandr Dolgopolov.

Diego Schwartzman vs. (2) Roger Federer

Federer and Schwartzman will be going head-to-head for the fourth time in their careers when they clash in round two of the Shanghai Rolex Masters  on Wednesday. All three of their previous meetings have gone Federer’s way; 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 at the 2014 French Open, 6-4, 6-2 one season later in Indian Wells, and 2-6, 6-2, 7-5 two years ago in Istanbul. Now squarely in his prime at 25 years old, Schwartzman is a much different player. The Argentine has earned more than half (33 of 64) of his career ATP-level match wins in 2017 and he is up to No. 26 in the world for his efforts. A quarterfinalist at the U.S. Open, Schwartzman opened on Tuesday in Shanghai by beating Jordan Thompson 6-4, 7-6(4).

Also a quarterfinalist in New York (lost to Juan Martin Del Potro), Federer is in official action for the first time since the season’s last major (he also suited up for the Laver Cup and went undefeated, winning the clincher for Team Europe against Nick Kyrgios). The second-ranked Swiss is an awesome 39-4 this season with two Grand Slam titles, and he remains in distant contention for year-end world No. 1. This is a tough matchup against Schwartzman with some rust being possible, but Federer will be eager to begin his fall swing on a positive note.

Pick: Federer in 3

(Q) Alexandr Dolgopolov vs. Feliciano Lopez

Dolgopolov is coming down the stretch of the 2017 season like gangbusters, to the extent that he will be inside the top 40 of next week’s rankings. The Ukrainian reached the fourth round of the U.S. Open, finished-runner up to David Goffin in Shenzhen, and was able to qualify for the Shanghai main draw after falling to Steve Johnson in the Tokyo second round. It was better to be lucky than good on Tuesday for Dolgopolov, who got a retirement from Jack Sock while leading 4-6, 6-1, 2-1.

Up next for the 28-year-old is a second career contest against Lopez. Speaking of retirements, that’s how their only previous encounter ended; Dolgopolov called it quits while trailing 6-3, 3-0 at the 2010 Barcelona event. At 36 years old, Lopez is still going relatively strong at No. 34 in the world. The Spaniard had been a disappointing 4-7 in his last 11 matches heading into Shanghai, but he at least managed to hold off a slumping Ivo Karlovic 7-6(1), 7-6(6) on Monday. A step up in competition may be a little too much for Lopez, who will likely be outclassed in baseline rallies and will have to keep points short by putting in a ton of first serves and following his slice backhand into the net.

Pick: Dolgopolov in 3

13 Comments on Shanghai R2 previews and predictions: Federer vs. Schwartzman, Lopez vs. Dolgopolov

  1. I don’t think he will lose, but I also never would have guessed he would lose in the first round in 2015. After that loss, he talked about how the court is so fast and slick that it often takes time to adjust to it. He’s been there for like a week now, getting used to the court and the conditions. Given that, I don’t see him losing in first round this time. That being said, Diego is such quick guy with amazing defense. It could absolutely be a tougher match than expected for Fed. Still expect him to come through it. He also had some good match-play practice at Laver Cup, so it’s not like he’s coming in having not played in over a month.

  2. I know it was on clay, but the last match between these two was very, very close. Federer eventually won 7-5 in the third set, but t was extremely close. Diego actually won the first set in that match 6-2! He is one of the worst opponents you can get in your first match of a tourny…

  3. This match went exactly as I thought it would. Close match, with Federer playing better in the important moments. Diego was a nightmare first match back for Federer, but he handled it well. I hope he gets hot as the tournament goes on, and we get a Fedal final. With the form Rafa is in, if Fed is in good form as well, we could potentially have a great competeitive final on our hands!

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