Bet of the Day: Daniil Medvedev to win Shanghai Masters Tennis

14th September 2021

With all of the Grand Slam events out of the way, the men’s tennis calendar is now wending its way towards the season’s end and the ATP Tour Finals in London next month. In a sentence that could have been written identically ten years ago, the chasing pack are still looking for a way to make up ground on the top three players – Nadal, Djokovic and Federer. Their latest opportunity to do just that comes this week, as the Masters Series arrives in Shanghai to compete for a title won last year by Djokovic. The Serbian star gets his defence underway tomorrow against the talented Canadian Denis Shapovalov.

The tournament is also a chance to see how Andy Murray is faring on his return to singles tennis. The Scot underwent hip surgery in January in a last-ditch bid to save his career, and nine months later is appearing in his first Masters 1000 event. Appearing as a wild card, he stands little chance of winning the competition, and exited in the quarter-finals of last week’s China Open in Beijing – but it’s undoubtedly good to see him back, and fans of the sport will keenly follow his fortunes here. He kicks off his return to the thick end of the game with a meeting against Argentina’s Juan Ignacio Londero this morning.

Djokovic the obvious favourite

One thing that will not change no matter what happens in Shanghai is the ranking position of World #1 Novak Djokovic. The Serb is defending 1000 points in the ATP Tour list, having won here last year. However, even if he were to be defeated by Shapovalov, he’d pick up 45 points, and in any case he’s more than 1000 ahead of his closest rival. Just for good measure, that rival is Rafael Nadal, who will sit this tournament out due to injury.

Djokovic is perhaps the world’s best hard-court player, and so will be well-backed to win on the DecoTurf surface here. He should move fairly serenely through to at least the quarter-finals where he is slated to face Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas. However, a potential fly in the ointment awaits in the last four, where – all things being equal – Russia’s Daniil Medvedev awaits. Medvedev made the final at the recent US Open, played on an identical surface, and was deeply unlucky to lose over five sets to Nadal. What’s more, he’s made the final in the last five ATP Tour events and won 24 of his last 27 matches. Medvedev is 8/1 with BetVictor to win the entire event here, and that price will fall sharpish if he maintains recent form.

Murray looks to take another step

When Andy Murray had hip resurfacing surgery at the beginning of the year, it was made clear that it was a last-ditch bid to save his tennis career – and that the balance of probability didn’t favour him having a successful return. When the two-time Wimbledon winner exited at the last-eight stage last week in Beijing, to the outsider it may have looked like a fall from grace from a player who used to regularly appear in finals. For Murray, who could barely move without pain at the start of the year, just completing a match against a player of Dominic Thiem’s quality shows that the recovery has gone better than anyone was entitled to expect.

This week represents another step for the Dunblane native, appearing in the main draw of a Masters event. He’s very much an outsider to win the tournament, but this week is not about that. Winning a single match here would be a positive, and he is favourite to do so against Londero. That said, Murray will inevitably be carrying some ring-rust, and it’s fair to expect that the match will be closer than the players’ respective histories suggest. Betfair are offering 15/8 that there will be a tiebreak in one of the sets in this match, and that’s worth checking out.

Murray to carry UK hopes alone?

Three players representing Britain entered the main draw at this competition and, at the time of writing, one of them had already departed – Kyle Edmund losing in straight sets to Jeremy Chardy. Should Murray lose to Londero (which would be a major surprise), then all UK eyes would turn to Cameron Norrie, the gifted South-African born player who turned pro only last year, and announced his arrival by defeating Roberto Bautista-Agutn in a Davis Cup match, despite it being the first time he had played on clay since 2013. Impressive though that was, Norrie has to be counted as a huge underdog for his second-round match.

The British player is in the second round by dint of beating Gilles Simon in straight sets, but will have to redouble his efforts, and then redouble them again to progress any further. That’s because he faces Medvedev tomorrow, and the World #4 is on a hot streak that will be hard to stop. Perhaps Norrie can live with the Russian for a set, but eventually we’d expect Medvedev’s progress to be pretty comfortable, and with Paddy Power offering odds of 11/2 that the second set will end either 6-0 or 6-1, we see an attractive punt. It would be no shame for Norrie to lose at this stage, and the way Medvedev is playing right now he’s likely to cause problems for anyone.

Bets of the Day

Medvedev to win Shanghai Open (BetVictor, 8/1); Medvedev-Norrie Second Set to end 6-0 or 6-1 (Paddy Power, 11/2); Murray-Londero A Tiebreak In Match (Betfair, 15/8)

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