Two Former Finalists Begin Shanghai Campaigns Monday
Two former Shanghai Rolex Masters finalists will get their 2017 campaigns underway in China on Monday.
Juan Martin del Potro, the No. 16 seed, returns to Shanghai facing a first-round encounter against qualifier Nikoloz Basilashvili. Del Potro, who beat Rafael Nadal on his way to the 2013 final, has a tough opponent in the 25-year-old Georgian, who reached the final in Memphis earlier this season.
The ninth seed, Roberto Bautista Agut, who upset then-No. 1 Novak Djokovic en route to last year’s final in Shanghai, will begin his attempt at a repeat run when he plays #NextGenATP Hyeon Chung.
The Spaniard, who lost in his first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 final last year against Andy Murray, is seeking his third title of the season (Chennai, Winston-Salem). He is on a third-round collision course with No. 8 seed David Goffin, who has won back-to-back titles in Tokyo and Shenzhen.
The match has plenty of implications for Bautista Agut, who is making a last-ditch effort to climb the standings in the Emirates ATP Race To London and possibly qualify for the Nitto ATP Finals. The 29 year old currently sits in the 16th spot, 825 points behind Goffin, who is in eighth.
Also on Stadium Court, 38-year-old Ivo Karlovic clashes with 36-year-old Feliciano Lopez in the second-oldest match on the ATP World Tour since 1981. Tommy Haas’ win over Roger Federer in Stuttgart on June 14 featured a combined age of 75. Karlovic is 6-3 against Lopez, with all nine matches featuring at least one tie-break and eight of the nine first sets going to a tie-break.
Two of the ATP World Tour’s hottest players will meet on Union Pay 3 when #NextGenATP star Andrey Rublev faces fast-rising Bosnian Damir Dzumhur. Both men broke into the Top 40 of the Emirates ATP Rankings last month after winning their first career titles — Rublev at Umag and Dzumhur at St. Petersburg. Rublev defeated Dzumhur on 2 September en route to becoming the youngest US Open quarter-finalist since 2001.
American Frances Tiafoe will try to better his chances of qualifying for the Next Gen ATP Finals when he takes on ATP World Tour veteran Benoit Paire. The qualifier is currently ninth in the Emirates ATP Race To Milan, 155 points behind seventh-placed Daniil Medvedev, who occupies the last guaranteed spot (the eighth spot goes to the winner of an all-Italian wild card playoff tournament).