There will be plenty of second round action on Day 4 of the Shanghai Masters with the headline act being China Open champion Dominic Thiem, who will play Pablo Carreno Busta, another ATP title winner during this Asian swing.
Here are out thoughts on who will advance. We also have thoughts on four other Day 4 matches.
ATP Shanghai Masters Day 4 Predictions
Stefanos Tsitsipas vs Felix Auger-Aliassime
Head-to-head: Tsitsipas 0-2 Auger-Aliassime
Stefanos Tsitsipas will look to turn the tables in this matchup as he bids to beat Felix Auger-Aliassime for the first time. The 21-year-old Greek has been breath of fresh air this year, winning a couple of ATP titles, making a first Grand Slam semifinal appearance at the Australian Open, and breaking into the ATP Top 10 courtesy of those landmark achievements. Although it has been a season of many thrills, there have been some low points as well. Tsitsipas was widely tipped to excel at the majors following his breakthrough in Melbourne when he stunned Roger Federer in fourth round. But instead, he fell at the first hurdle at both Wimbledon and the US Open.
But the No. 6 seed has been a rejuvenated man since that shocking loss in New York and his first round exit in Zhuhai. He reached the final of the China Open last week, where he lost to Dominic Thiem in three sets. Auger-Aliassime also had an impressive first half of the season when he reached three finals–-in Rio, Lyon and Stuttgart. In the midst of that streak, he also reached the semifinals of the Miami Masters. Despite falling short of claiming his maiden tour-level title, he still surpassed Milos Raonic as Canada’s top ranked player. Auger-Aliassime, much like Tsitsipas, hasn’t rediscovered that sizzling early season form. But given the young Canadian’s positive head-to-head record, he will be buoyed to extend it.
Prediction: Auger-Aliassime in 3
Roberto Bautista Agut vs Reilly Opelka
Head-to-head: First meeting
Former Shanghai finalist Roberto Bautista Agut is an ATP Finals hopeful (currently 7th in the Race) and has had another excellent season. However, he has now lost the opening match in two of his last four tournaments and retired in Beijing. It might be a bit dicey to expect too much from him this week. Opelka’s booming serve will once again be a feature of his game. If it is firing just like in the first round against Lajovic, he will be tough for Bautista Agut to subdue.
Prediction: Opelka in 2
David Goffin vs Mikhail Kukushkin
Head-to-Head: Goffin 1-0 Kukushkin
David Goffin is another London hopeful as he aims to return at the season-ending finale for the first time since 2017. The Belgian overcame a shaky start to the year, in which he fell outside the Top 30 following a number of subpar performances. But things are looking rosy now that he has climbed back into the Top 15 (currently ranked 14th) after a consistent run during the second half of the season. Goffin also benefited from having no points to defend after the US Open, after shutting down his 2018 season early. A meeting between these two players has been long overdue, but Goffin should be able to navigate his way with his greater firepower and athletic ability.
Prediction: Goffin in 2
Pablo Carreno Busta vs Dominic Thiem
Head-to-head: Carreno Busta 0-5 Thiem
The last of the day’s action at the Shanghai Masters will see two ATP title winners during this Asian swing go toe-to-toe, but in fairness, this is match up Carreno Busta would have wanted to avoid at all costs. His unrelenting baseline tennis just doesn’t quite put him in good stead to counter-punch Thiem from muscling winners. And with the way the Spaniard struggled dearly against Chinese wild card Zhang Ze, Thiem is nailed on for a spot in the second round.
Prediction: Thiem in 2
Main Photo from Getty.