The first round matches at the 2019 Shanghai Masters kick-start on Sunday, October 6 and while the top players will be in action later in the week, some other interesting matches are on show here. Get the Fernando Verdasco v Taylor Fritz & Nikoloz Basilashvili v Radu Albot tips, previews and predictions below along with that for a couple of other matches below.Get the best odds for the ATP China Open 2019 with 888Sport here.
*Geo-restrictions apply & pre-funded account needed
Fernando Verdasco v Taylor Fritz Predictions & Preview
This will be the third match that Fernando Verdasco and Taylor Fritz will be playing against each other and the scoreline right now in the form of head to head is 1-1. Interestingly, both those matches came on hard court surfaces, once at Winston-Salem in 2016 where Verdasco won in three sets and the second time in Indian Wells third round last year where Fritz also needed three sets to get past the Spaniard.
It’s not been a great season for the 35-year-old Verdasco, possessing an 8-8 record on hard court surfaces and it could well get worse. After all, the 21-year-old American, Fritz has won more than he has lost on this surface and even made it to the final at Los Cabos earlier this year.
While Fritz’s recent form hasn’t shown the same sparkle, he will start off as a favourite. However, he could be stretched by the fighting Spaniard and the win might take three sets.
Tip: Fritz to win in three sets: 13/4 with Unibet
Nikoloz Basilashvili v Radu Albot Predictions & Preview
In what will be the fifth match between Nikoloz Basilashvili and Radu Albot, they will be facing off in the first round at the Shanghai Masters on Sunday. And Basilashvili is leading the head to head 3-1, with his only loss coming in at an exhibition tournament on clay last year.
World number 17 Basilashvili has had a tournament win this year too but that came on clay. However, his hard court record isn’t something to be scoffed at, having won 13 of the 22 matches he has played so far on the surface. His best showing came at the Australian Open and the Miami Masters where he made the third round along with the US Open too.
The only problem with that is Albot has done even better on that surface. A win-loss record of 20-11 is one to behold and it includes a title win at Delray Beach. He’s won just three of the previous eight matches he has played in but that shouldn’t take away from his overall form this year that saw him tough a career-best of 39th in the world. Expect a three-setter.
Tip: Basilashvilli to win in three sets: 27/20 with Unibet
Hubert Hurkacz v Zhizhen Zhang Predictions & Preview
Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz will take on Chinese wildcard Zhizhen Zhang in the first round of the Shanghai Masters on Sunday. This will also be their first meeting.
Ranked 36th in the world, Hurkacz will be an overwhelming favourite starting out against the 213th-ranked Zhang. That said, this marks an improved showing already for the Chinese, having for a main draw entry after having faltered at the qualification in each of his previous attempts. Zhang’s coming off a title win at the Jinan Challenger, the third of his career but the question is if he can get past an opponent in the top 40.
Hurkacz’s career-best ranking is 35, which implies he is playing near his best and to top that he has also won a title at Winston-Salem. This is a mismatch of sorts with a straight-set result expected for the Pole.
Tip: Hurkacz to win in straight sets: 10/11 with Unibet
Joao Sousa v Filip Krajinovic Predictions & Preview
49th-ranked Filip Krajinovic will be up against the 62nd-ranked Joao Sousa in their first round match in Shanghai and this will be their second meeting. The only other match came at the first round in Marseille and saw Krajinovic edge out his opponent in three sets.
Sousa hasn’t had the best of seasons, with an 8-10 record on hard courts but his more recent record will please him no end. Sure there was a first round loss at the Japan Open but a quarter-final at Chengdu Open and a semi-final in St. Petersburg makes him a dangerous opponent.
Krajinovic’s year has had more sparkle but he is more suited to clay court tennis despite what he did in Indian Wells. Needing to qualify for the main draw, he then won three more matches in a row to make it to the fourth round. Stunningly, he won five matches in those tournaments and all of them in straight sets, with wins over David Goffin and Daniil Medvedev to boot.
Unfortunately for him he hasn’t been able to replicate that performance again and might not have it too easy.
Tip: Sousa to win: 6/5 with Unibet