Live from Shanghai until 18 October, the Shanghai Rolex Masters is set for a gripping conclusion with Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray and Rafael Nadal all battling to reach the semifinals at the penultimate Masters event of the season.
Shanghai Rolex Masters tennis is live from Shanghai from 11-18 October. Watch & bet on tennis live from Shanghai at 365
Only three active players – Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Andy Murray – have ever captured the title at the Shanghai Rolex Masters. Not coincidentally, those three players also currently occupy the top three ranking positions in men’s tennis and have also won all of 2015’s Masters 1000 Series events between them – and this titanic trio lead the field at the 2015 Shanghai Rolex Masters.
Defending champion Federer may have fallen to a shock opening exit at the hands of Albert Ramos-Vinolas, but Djokovic and Murray are still very much alive in the Shanghai draw. Djokovic is now on a 14-match winning streak after wins over Martin Klizan and Feliciano Lopez showed that he had picked up in Shanghai where he left off capturing his sixth title in Beijing, and faces Bernard Tomic in the quarterfinals. Murray has an additional incentive as he prepares to face Tomas Berdych in the quarterfinals after surviving a gripping three-set battle with John Isner - every match he can win tightens his grip on the world no. 2 ranking he wrested from Federer at the beginning of the week.
But the pick of four blockbuster quarterfinals has to be Rafael Nadal vs Stan Wawrinka, as Nadal - whose confidence finally seems to be returning in Asia this autumn - tries to reverse a trend of matches lost to the man who took his French Open title. With Jo-Wilfried Tsonga waiting in the semifinals, is this Nadal's moment to return to the Shanghai Masters final for the first time since 2009?
The penultimate Masters Series event of the season, the Shanghai Rolex Masters also brings the ATP World Tour’s autumn Asian swing to a close after stops in 250 events in Shenzhen and Kuala Lumpur, and 500-level events in Beijing and Japan held the week before the Shanghai Masters.
Novak Djokovic aims to reclaim his Shanghai Masters title in 2015 (Zhong Zhi/AFP/Getty Images)
The roots of the Shanghai Rolex Masters date back to 1996, when the first ATP event was held in the largest city in China. In 2002, the ATP World Tour’s season-ending championships were held in Shanghai for the first time at the Shanghai New International Expo Centre, and the popularity of champion Lleyton Hewitt led the ATP World Tour to bring the season finale – then known as the Tennis Masters Cup – back to Shanghai for a four-year sojourn between 2005 and 2008 at a purpose-built facility, the Qizhong Forest Sports City Arena. Roger Federer featured in three of the four Tennis Masters Cup finals in Shanghai, finishing runner-up to David Nalbandian in 2005 and capturing the title in 2006-7 before Novak Djokovic won his first title in 2008, the final year of the event being held in Shanghai.
As the season-ending championships, now known as the ATP World Tour Finals, moved to London in 2009, the Shanghai event took on a new guise as the second-to-last of nine Masters Series events held in the season. Rebranded as the Shanghai Rolex Masters and offering 1,000 ranking points to the winner, the event is now one of the highlights of the climactic stages of the ATP World Tour season and a key battleground when it comes to qualifying for the season-ending championships.
The flagship event of the ATP World Tour’s autumn Asian swing, the inaugural Shanghai Rolex Masters was won by Nikolay Davydenko, who defeated Rafael Nadal in the final. Titles for Andy Murray (2010-11) and Novak Djokovic (2012-13) followed, with Juan Martin del Potro and David Ferrer featuring in the finals as well as Federer, who finally captured the title in 2014 when he beat Gilles Simon in the final.
Federer (Cincinnati), Djokovic (Indian Wells, Miami, Monte Carlo and Rome) and Murray (Madrid and Montreal) have captured all the 2015 Masters Series titles so far in 2015 – will this magnificent trio continue to dominate when the Shanghai Rolex Masters is played from 11-18 October?