It has been a weekend of mixed feelings for Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal fans. While the two legends of the game swapped their rankings with Rafael Nadal, now the Numero Uno of the tennis galaxy, Novak Djokovic ensured that his fans do not feel let down by claiming the China Open in dominant fashion. One did consider the possibility* that Novak Djokovic would win the title, but he clearly sent a message to Rafael Nadal and the rest of the tour that he is far from done, when it comes to winning slams or the No.1 ranking. What about Roger Federer, his fans ask? He has arrived early, a clear indication of his intent to right the RF planet that has been wobbling more than his well-wishers would like, in the past few months. He has already got into business and has secured a doubles win playing with Chinese No.1 Ze Zhang. He’s also received another endorsement for his GOAT status at a GOAT-studded promotional event in Shanghai. The other member of the Big 4 – Andy Murray is on his recovery from a back injury and busy in the twitter-verse.
Talking about GOATs, Serena Williams did her GOAT credentials no damage by adding another title to her already impressive GOAT resume by making easy work of Jelena Jakovic. Kudos also to Juan Martin Delpotro, who capped a memorable week by upending Milos Raonic for the Japan Open, in the most competitive final of the weekend.
Now that we have taken care of all the important tennis news, let us jump into the main agenda for today – Previewing the Shanghai Masters.
The way seedings are done at tennis tournaments means that Novak Djokovic will be the top seed at this prestigious event. Here is a reasonably challenging draw with Federer – the greatest Indoor player of the past 25years, in the same quarter as his. I think Nole will get through Granollers and possibly Fognini, who put a lot of fab in fabulousness in the China Open, last week.
Will Roger Federer keep his end of the promise to give us a blockbuster quarter-final with Novak Djokovic? I am thinking yes. There is no certainty with Mr. Tennis, these days [how things change, not long ago he was as safe as anything this Sportz Cosmos has seen]. Federer will most likely have to get through his fellow 30+ year old, Lleyton Hewitt and should he get through that, he may have to contend with the baby version of Mr.Tennis, the resurgent Mr. Prodigy, Richard Gasquet. I do think Federer will right his meandering ship and get to the quarterfinals.
Prediction: Djokovic in a close 3 setter against Federer in the quarter-finals to move to the semis.
I have been burnt many time picking against Ferru, as he is affectionately called. Unfortunately I am the kind of guy who like Calvin, in Calvin and Hobbes, belongs to the “Live and NOT Learn” school. I will pick Gilles Simon to head to the quarter-final in this quarter and place my faith in Jr.Ali, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga to make an all-French quarter-final in Shanghai.
Prediction: Tsonga to bring his energy to the semi-finals in a 3-set battle against Simon
It give me immense pleasure to mark this quarter as Berdych’s. One of the greatest pleasures of life is watching a talented young man realise his potential and convert that into results. In the last few years Tomas Berdych has been doing that in impressive fashion. Unfortunately for him, Juan Martin Delpotro is in that mode that fetched him the sole Grand Slam won by a non-member of the Big 4, in more than 8 years. There is also Felician Lopez, who can be more than a handful on the faster surfaces. Another Spaniard, Alamgro is also in Berdych’s section of the quarter. Delpo, as his fans affectionately address him, as his own challenges with a couple of German, one-handed backhand [Is there a shot sweeter than this in tennis?] players – Haas and Kohlschreiber.
Prediction: Delpotro to continue his march towards the top 4 [maybe No.1 too?] with a straight set win over Berdych
Nuevo Numero Uno’s Quarter
Team Nadal’s celbrations on reclaiming the Numero Uno must have been short, with this immediate challenging task of winning a Master’s that is played in conditions that Team Nadal does not quite fancy. However, as the tennis galaxy is aware, impossible is nothing for this Nike Athlete who just does what others claim as impossible for him. Nadal is bidding to add to his already stellar Masters record as he attempts to become the 1st player to win 6 ATP World Tour Masters, in a year. Yes, 6. To put it in perspective, Andy Murray has 9 Masters in his career.
To achieve this impressive feat, Nadal will possibly have to deal with The Dog, Big John and Mighty-Serving Milos. I do back Nadal to get to the semi-finals from his quarter-finals, very likely with Milos Raonic.
Prediction: Rafa Nadal to the semi-final with another straight-set lesson for Milos
I have semi-final line up of Djokovic-Tsonga and Delpotro-Nadal. I will go with the in-magical-form Djokovic over an in-form Delpotro, in 3 sets for the Final on sunday.