October in the ATP World Tour calendar marks the arrival of the ever-popular Asian Swing, featuring two 500 events in Beijing and Tokyo, followed by the penultimate Masters 1000 event of the year in Shanghai.
There are still plenty of ranking points up for grabs, with many players looking to secure their place in the season-ending finales in Milan and London. With 140 matches coming up from the three tournaments live and on-demand on Tennis TV, here are a few things to look out for…
China Open, Beijing
With defending champion Andy Murray still suffering with a hip injury, 2016 finalist Grigor Dimitrov will be looking to go one step further than he did this time a year ago. The Bulgarian has enjoyed much success so far in 2017, winning titles in Cincinnati, Brisbane and Sofia, as well as a semi-final appearance at the Australian Open in January.
Standing in Dimitrov’s way will be the might of World No.1 Rafael Nadal, fresh from his victory at Flushing Meadows. Rafa will be hoping to replicate the success he had in last year’s doubles event, where he won an 11th career doubles title alongside fellow Spaniard Pablo Carreno-Busta.
Alexander Zverev’s attendance in Beijing is also one that will delight his growing army of fans. The #NextGenATP star will be looking to bounce back after a disappointing US Open by adding singles title number seven to his trophy cabinet; and an impressive sixth of 2017.
The China Open also sees Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, John Isner and Roberto Bautista Agut take to the court, as well as 2016 Tokyo champion Nick Kyrgios.
If this year’s event is anything like the 2016 edition – check out last year’s tournament review here – Tennis TV viewers are in for a memorable week!
The Rakuten Japan Open Tennis Championships 2017, Tokyo
In the absence of Kei Nishikori, local star Yuichi Sugita comes into the tournament as the highest-ranked Japanese player, having reached a career high ranking of 42. Home supporters will also be hoping for success from wildcards Taro Daniel, Go Soeda and Yasutaka Uchiyama, as they all seek a maiden ATP World Tour title.
Heading up the field in Tokyo will be Marin Cilic and Dominic Thiem, both of whom are looking to secure a place at the Nitto ATP Finals for a second consecutive year. Thiem was victorious at the Rio Open in February, whilst big serving Croat Cilic triumphed at the ATP 250 event in Istanbul. They will, however, face stiff competition from the likes of Sam Querrey, Kevin Anderson and 2016 finalist David Goffin, as the Race to London starts hotting up.
Relive the pick of the action from the 2016 Japan Open
The Shanghai Rolex Masters
The Asian Swing culminates at the Shanghai Rolex Masters, which in recent years has been dominated by Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic. In fact, if you exclude Roger Federer’s victory in 2014, you’d have to go back to the 2009 tournament to find another champion, when Nikolay Davydenko overcame Rafael Nadal 7-6, 6-3 to win the title.
With both the Scot and the Serbian absent from this year’s event, all eyes will surely turn towards Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Alexander Zverev – and the race to win a third Masters 1000 title of the season. Add Cincinnati champion Dimitrov into the mix, as well as the dangerous Thiem, and we’re sure to see some blockbuster tennis in Shanghai.
Last year Roberto Bautista Agut recorded a stunning semi-final victory over the then World No.1 Novak Djokovic. Currently sitting at #13 in the Emirates ATP Race to London, the Spaniard will no doubt be hoping to put in another strong Shanghai showing.
Another one to watch at the eighth Masters 1000 event of 2017 will be the explosive Russian Karen Khachanov, who looks to secure his spot at the Next Gen ATP Finals in November. The young star has recorded wins over Kei Nishikori, Tomas Berdych, John Isner and David Goffin so far in 2017, and will be hoping to add some more scalps to this growing list in Shanghai.
Get in the mood for this year’s event by enjoying some of the best hot shots from last year’s tournament
Stay tuned to Tennis TV in the coming weeks as we bring you the best coverage from the Asian Swing, as well as every ATP World Tour event leading up to the Milan and London season finales.
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