Day 3 at the Rolex Shanghai masters will be loaded with a host of second round matches and the conclusion of the remaining first round matches.
Alex De Minaur vs John Isner
Head-to-head: De Minaur 0-1 Isner
Alex De Minaur was knocked out of the Japan Open in the first round, but that defeat could be a blessing in disguise. The 20-year-old Australian clinched the third ATP title of his fledgling career at the Zhuhai Championships a fortnight ago, and perhaps should have taken a week off to recharge his batteries ahead of a busy climax to the ATP season. But the good news for the Sydney native is that he lost early in Tokyo and had a week long to prepare for his meeting with John Isner.
The tall American once again put up a serving clinic in his opening two rounds in Beijing last week, but came up short in the quarterfinal for the fifth time in his six visits to China Open. Isner’s serve will certainly be the backbone of his progress in Shanghai yet again, and if he can keep De Minaur guessing at every attempt, I fancy his chances of winning in straight sets.
Prediction: Isner in 2
Reilly Opelka vs Dusan Lajovic
Head-to-head: First meeting
American Reilly Opelka is looking to continue a tremendous season in which he shot up the rankings. He currently sits at No.40 after starting the year outside the Top 100. Opelka, who possesses a booming first serve will look to accumulate as many points as possible in order to soften the load of defending all the points he won at Challenger level last year after finishing 2018 strongly with two Challenger titles. Opelka’s opponent will be Serbia’s Dusan Lajovic, whose career highlight in 2019 included a maiden ATP tour title win in Umag, and prior to that, a first Masters 1000 final showing at the Monte Carlo Masters.
Opelka and Lajovic have never played before and this one is tough one to call since both players are efficient servers. But I am going to go with form rather than ranking in this one.
Prediction: Opelka in 3
David Goffin vs Richard Gasquet
Head-to-head: Goffin 2-1 Gasquet
David Goffin is inching ever closer towards qualifying for the season-ending Nitto ATP Finals thanks to his terrific form during the second half of the season. A below-par opening half of the season saw the Belgian drop outside the Top 30, but he has found a resurgence, first on grass in Halle and then in North America, where he reached the final in Cincinnati and the fourth round of US Open. Goffin’s Asian swing has started on a positive as he reached the semifinals in Tokyo.
His opponent Richard Gasquet had his own health worries at the start of season as he underwent groin surgery and missed the first four months of the calendar, but he is still capable of squeezing out results even with little matches. I tend to like Goffin’s baseline game and aggression to combat the Frenchman’s tactical awareness.
Prediction: Goffin in 2
Nikoloz Basilashvili vs Benoit Paire
Head-to-head: Basilashvili 0-3 Paire
Nikoloz Basilashvili’s failure to defend his China Open crown meant that he swiftly lost a few spots in ATP rankings. He did, however, register a solid win in his opener against the dangerous Moldovan Radu Albot. Meanwhile, Benoite Paire took care of his own first round opponent Marco Cecchinato in straight sets. The flamboyant Frenchman has played a heavy schedule this year, competing almost every week. He even dropped down to the Challengers to compete after early exits in the bigger events.
Paire has already claimed two titles this year and finished runner-up in Winston-Salem two months ago. The 30-year-old can be notorious for serving up some shockers to compound with his brilliance as evident with his straight sets loss to World No.110 Yasutaka Uchiyama in Tokyo last week. I am siding with Georgian to pick up his first win over Paire.
Prediction: Basilashvili in 2
Daniil Medvedev vs Cameron Norrie
Head-to-head: First meeting
If there was one name that would strike some fear into the Big Four once the draw of the Shanghai Masters came out, it would certainly have been Daniil Medvedev. The Russian has won an astonishing 24 of his last 27 matches since Washington. He collected three ATP titles in 2019, the most recent coming at the St. Petersburg Open. Medvedev took a rare week off after winning in his home country and he will be licking his lips at the prospect of playing Cameron Norrie rather than Gilles Simon in the second round, because the French veteran has beaten him in their previous two encounters. The British No.3 recorded a solid win over Simon, but he will find Medvedev too hot to handle.
Prediction: Medvedev in 2
Main Photo from Getty.
Disagree with our Rolex Shanghai Masters Day 3 Predictions? As always, feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments.