ATP Shanghai Masters Day 5 Predictions Including Novak Djokovic vs John Isner

Novak Djokovic Shanghai Masters

Thursday will see the remaining 16 players in the field at the Shanghai Masters battle for a place in the quarterfinals. We here at LWOT are offering predictions for all eight of the day’s matches, including two-time former champion Roger Federer’s clash with David Goffin. Who will come out on top?

Shanghai Masters Day Five Predictions

Roberto Bautista Agut vs Matteo Berrettini

Head-to-head: Berrettini 2-1

Matteo Berrettini is a relatively new face on the ATP tour and can therefore go a little under the radar. But he has already picked up 37 wins this season and is up to #13 in the ATP rankings. Berrettini bases his game around a powerful one-two serve-forehand punch, and it has been working extremely well for him thus far on the fast courts in Shanghai. The Italian has defeated Jan-Lennard Struff and Christian Garin, saving all four break points faced in two straight-sets wins.

Roberto Bautista Agut, in contrast, prefers to extend the rallies. But, uncharacteristically for a Spaniard, he also thrives in faster conditions, largely due to the flat trajectory of his groundstrokes. He reached the final in Shanghai in 2016, beating Novak Djokovic in the semifinals, and has enjoyed a career-best season, particularly at the Majors. The Spaniard lost to Berrettini twice on clay, but took their only hard court meeting in Doha this year. However, in Shanghai, the serve is usually king and the Italian unquestionably has the edge in that department.

Prediction: Berrettini in 3
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Stefanos Tsitsipas vs Hubert Hurkacz

Head-to-head: Tsitsipas 4-1 Hurkacz

Somewhat surprisingly, this pair have met five times in the last twelve months. Hubert Hurkacz took their last hard-court meeting at the Rogers Cup, but Stefanos Tsitsipas had his revenge in Davis Cup action last month, winning handily albeit on a clay court. The Pole had struggled since capturing his maiden title in Winston-Salem, but he’s impressed so far in Shanghai. Against Zhang Zhizhen and Gael Monfils, he played aggressively off the front foot to pick up back-to-back straight-sets wins.

Tsitsipas faced arguably a tougher test up against Felix Auger-Aliassime, but he scored his first win over the Canadian at the third attempt with a 7-6 7-6 victory. Holding serve will be crucial here. Neither Hurkacz nor Tsitsipas excel when returning, so both will need to seize what chances they get. But the Pole has consistently shown an admirable ability to stand up to pressure and raise his level on the biggest stage. Expect him to do so once again in Shanghai.

Prediction: Hurkacz in 3
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Alexander Zverev vs Andrey Rublev

Head-to-head: Zverev 2-0 Rublev

Much has been said about Alexander Zverev’s poor season, but the German is still collecting a fair number of wins. He may be struggling to impose himself in rallies, but his serve and great defensive skills have kept him firmly in contention for a place at the ATP Finals in November. Andrey Rublev, meanwhile, remarked in a post-match interview that the surface at the Shanghai Masters is not to his liking as he prefers playing on slower courts. However, he has looked comfortable enough so far this week.

After upsetting 2018 runner-up Borna Coric in the opening round, Rublev hammered Tokyo finalist John Millman 6-0 6-2. His forehand, which is one of the most dangerous weapons on tour, has been on song so far. But Zverev has won both their previous matches, although their last clash came two years ago in Beijing. To avenge those defeats, Rublev will look to dominate play and keep the German moving beyond the baseline. But Zverev is a deceptively quick and has an excellent engine. Expect him to draw enough errors from Rublev to claim victory.

Prediction: Zverev in 3
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Novak Djokovic vs John Isner

Head-to-head: Djokovic 9-2 Isner

The big-serving John Isner is a threat to almost anyone on tour. But in recent years, there are few who have more success in rendering the giant American harmless than Novak Djokovic. The reason is not too hard to find. Djokovic’s return is peerless and that allows him to neutralize Isner’s atomic serve, without which Isner cannot hope to live with the best in the sport. The American will thus be glad to be playing this match on a fast surface, but even that may not help him enough.

Djokovic defeated Denis Shapovalov comfortably in his opening match at the Shanghai Masters, defending superbly throughout. Isner has also been playing well. He is yet to face a break point and thundered a combined 37 aces past Alex De Minaur and Lucas Pouille. But Djokovic is a cut above the Australian and the Frenchman. Isner will surely be hoping to get Djokovic into a tiebreak, having won six of the ten he has contested against the world #1. But Djokovic looks like he means business in Shanghai and that spells trouble for Isner.

Prediction: Djokovic in 2

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