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Shanghai Masters preview: Draw looks tough for Daniil Medvedev

With all four Grand Slams concluded, the ATP Tour is drawing to a close in 2023, but there is plenty of buzz around the season's penultimate Masters 1000 event in Shanghai.

The ATP Shanghai is back for the first time since 2019 this week, with qualifying having started on Monday and the main draw scheduled to begin on Wednesday.

It is a quick turnaround for players recently involved in the ATP Beijing, but it has previously been a highly anticipated staple of the men's tennis calendar with former winners including Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Andy Murray.

WhatATP Shanghai
WhereQizhong Forest Sports City Arena, Shanghai, China
WhenMonday 2nd October - Sunday 15th October
How to watchAmazon Prime

Defending champ Medvedev in tough quarter

Federer has of course since retired, Djokovic decided to withdraw from the event this year and Murray's powers are fading, so it is Carlos Alcaraz and Daniil Medvedev who take the top two seeds in Shanghai.

They will begin their campaigns in the second round, with both players having impressed at the China Open in Beijing this week.

And, while Alcaraz will be making his debut in Shanghai, it is an event Medvedev knows well.

The 27-year-old is defending champion, having won the last running of the tournament in 2019 with a 6-4 6-1 defeat of Alexander Zverev in the final.

He should be in good spirits as he aims to defend his title, having preceded his fine run in Beijing with an appearance in the final of the US Open in September.

His campaign in Flushing Meadows ended in a straight-sets defeat to Djokovic, but it also featured wins over Andrey Rublev and Alcaraz and Medvedev has once again been a force on the hard courts in 2023.

However, Medvedev will need to keep his good run going this week after the ATP Shanghai second seed was dealt a tough draw with big-hitters Jannik Sinner, Zverev and Felix Auger-Aliassime all stationed in his quarter.

Alcaraz targets top spot in rankings

Medvedev has won four tour-level titles on hard courts this year and typically has the edge over Alcaraz on the surface, but his draw is not favourable and the Spaniard may be eager to capitalise.

His ATP Shanghai campaign will begin with an opener against either Nuno Borges or Gregoire Barrere, before Karen Khachanov will likely await him in the fourth round.

Taylor Fritz and Frances Tiafoe are possible quarter-final opponents for Alcaraz, so it is by no means a straightforward run, but it still looks softer than Medvedev's draw.

And Alcaraz has added incentive heading to Shanghai as he looks to boost his chances of finishing the year top of the ATP rankings.

If the youngster were to lift the ATP Beijing beforehand, he would arrive in Shanghai 315 points adrift of current rankings leader Djokovic.

Norrie leads British charge in Shanghai

Also in Alcaraz's half of the draw and looking to cause a stir will be fourth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas and fifth seed Rublev.

While Tsitsipas opens against either a qualifier or Laslo Djere, Rublev will be up against either Quentin Halys or Aslan Karatseve, with Tommy Paul a likely fourth-round opponent.

One player Rublev could encounter in the draw is British number one Cameron Norrie.

Norrie will be eager to finish the season on a strong note after a tough run recently, which began with a third-round exit at the US Open.

Norrie then failed to make his mark at the Zhuhai Championships before losing his opener to Rublev in Beijing, despite taking a one-set lead.

Shanghai presents Norrie with a clean slate, but he needs to overhaul his hard-court form if he is to stand a chance of going deep.

Meanwhile, Murray is a three-time winner of the ATP Shanghai, but his last title came back in 2016 and his defeat to Alex de Minaur in Beijing does little to inspire confidence in his chances.

He opens with a tricky match against Roman Safiullin, who was a surprise quarter-finalist at Wimbledon in the summer and carried that form into the hard-court swing by making the final of the Chengdu Open.

Others to keep an eye on are third seed Holger Rune, who is in Medvedev's half, as well as Casper Ruud and De Minaur, who made the last-16 at Flushing Meadows and took a set off Medvedev.

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