10 Things To Watch In Shanghai
1. Roger and Rafa in China: Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer are the top two seeds in the tournament for the first time. Nadal leads Federer by 2,160 points in the Emirates ATP Race To London (going into Beijing F), with 4,000 points still available for both players at Shanghai, Basel, Paris and the Nitto ATP Finals.
2. Rafa at No. 1: Nadal has played at every edition of the Shanghai Rolex Masters except 2012. He is 12-7 at the tournament, posting his best finish as runner-up at the inaugural event in 2009 (l. to Davydenko). The Spaniard is ranked No. 1 for the 149th week of his career and making his third Shanghai appearance as the top player in the world (2010 3rd Round and 2013 Semi-finalist).
3. Roger Returns: Federer is making his first ATP World Tour appearance since reaching the quarter-finals at the US Open. The Swiss is 13-4 at the Shanghai Rolex Masters, winning the 2014 title (d. Simon) and reaching the 2010 final (l. to Murray). In his last visit to Shanghai two years ago, Federer lost his opening match to Albert Ramos-Vinolas. Federer is 39-4 in 2017 with five titles.
4. Former Champions/Finalists: Federer is the only former champion in the Shanghai Rolex Masters main draw (2014) and one of five players to have finished runner-up (2010), joining Nadal (2009), Juan Martin del Potro (2013), Gilles Simon (2014) and Roberto Bautista Agut (2016).
5. Next Gen ATP Finals Preview: The Top 10 players in the Emirates ATP Race to Milan are in the main or qualifying draw, led by ATP Masters 1000 Rome and Montreal champion Alexander Zverev, US Open quarter-finalist Andrey Rublev and 18-year-old sensation Denis Shapovalov.
6. Sascha Makes History: Last week in Beijing, Zverev became the youngest qualifier for the Nitto ATP Finals since del Potro in 2008. The 20-year-old German is also the youngest Top 5 player, ATP Masters 1000 champion, and five-time champion in a season since Novak Djokovic in 2007. Zverev defeated Cilic en route to the third round in his Shanghai debut last year (l. to Tsonga).
7. The Race is On: No. 7 seed Pablo Carreno Busta, No. 8 seed David Goffin, No. 10 seed Sam Querrey and No. 11 seed Kevin Anderson are battling to earn a spot for the eight-man Nitto ATP Finals. Going into the Tokyo final, Goffin is holding the final spot. Goffin is 8-0 in Asia thus far this fall after winning the Shenzhen title and reaching the Tokyo final (vs. Mannarino).
8. Wild Cards: Chinese players Di Wu, Yibing Wu and Ze Zhang join Shapovalov as main draw wild cards. Yibing Wu, 17, won the junior singles and doubles titles at the US Open, where Shapovalov qualified and became the youngest player to reach the fourth round since Michael Chang in 1989.
9. Perfect Attendance: Simon and three-time semi-finalist Feliciano Lopez are the only players in the nine-year history of the Shanghai Rolex Masters to play at every edition of the event (2009-17).
10. Doubles Draw: Defending champions John Isner and Jack Sock are joined by 2017 Grand Slam winners Henri Kontinen/John Peers, Ryan Harrison/Michael Venus, Lukasz Kubot/Marcelo Melo and Jean-Julien Rojer/Horia Tecau. Kubot and Melo are the No. 1 team in the world.