The Shanghai Rolex, the eighth Masters 1000 event of the season, unveiled its draw earlier today featuring 17 of the Top 20 players participating including the first event the “Big Four” are together since Wimbledon. Top seed Novak Djokovic is looking for a third straight title, but the draw did him no favors.
The World No. 1 is paired with 2-time Shanghai winner Andy Murray and former finalist Roger Federer. Grigor Dimitrov and the streaking Kei Nishikori are also in the top half.
Djokovic’s draw could take him through Rosol or Thiem, Kevin Anderson, Andy Murray in the quarters and then either Federer, Dimitrov or Nishikori in the semifinals.
Murray, who doesn’t have a bye, plays a qualifier before a possible meeting with Jerzy Janowicz and then David Ferrer in the third round.
Federer’s path could put him against Leonardo Mayer, Vasek Pospisil or Bautista Agut and then in the quarters either Nishikori or Dimitrov.
In the bottom half, 2009 finalist Rafael Nadal is poised to improve upon his quarterfinal effort in Beijing, though a gauntlet of big servers await. Nadal could face countryman Feliciano Lopez in his opener, John Isner in the third round, Milos Raonic in the quarters and either Tomas Berdych, Stan Wawrinka or Marin Cilic in the semifinals.
Among the decent early round matchups, there’s Cilic-Karlovic, Thiem-Rosol and Chardy-Gasquet. Those Top 20 players absent from the event are Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (wrist), Gael Monfils (knee) and Juan Martin del Potro (wrist). Philipp Kohlschreiber, David Goffin and Nicolas Almagro also are not playing. The red-hot Goffin wouldn’t have made the entry cut six weeks ago.
Bernard Tomic and Viktor Troicki are both playing in the qualifying.
Matches in Shanghai begin Sunday.
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