The business end of the Shanghai Masters is nearing with some big matches on Friday’s schedule at the tournament. Stefanos Tsitsipas will hope to continue his improving form after the US Open but will have his work cut out against the World No.1 Novak Djokovic.
The Greek made the final of Beijing, losing a three setter to Dominic Thiem. He will be happy with the way he has bounced back here with two strong wins over two of the top younger players on tour in Hubert Hurkacz and Felix Auger-Aliassime. The former came in three sets, eventually defeating the Pole in a final set tiebreak. The win moves him one step closer to booking a spot in the ATP Finals, with his No.7 ranking helping him there.
Djokovic struggled to breakdown John Isner early on but he cranked up the pressure in the late part of the first set on his way to a 7-5 6-3 win. From 5-5, he won 5 games in a row to run away with the match. He was rarely troubled on serve throughout and won 88% on first serve. “I managed to kind of read his serve and find a good position on the return, at the end of the first set and also [at the] beginning of the second. I won five games in a row, and that was the key, obviously having a break each set, and then I kind of held my serve. I thought it was one of the best serving matches I had lately.” Djokovic said of his performance.
Tsitsipas looked to be on his way quickly to troubling the top men on tour on a regular basis but that hasn’t quite worked out despite his high placing in the rankings. The head to head currently stands at 1-1, with Tsitsipas winning the only hard court match back in Canada last year. He will need to improve his serve from he win over Hurkacz in which he hit only 57% first serves. Giving such a clear advantage to the best returner in the game is likely to only end one way.
Prediction – Novak Djokovic in straight sets