The Shanghai Masters is the youngest Masters event on the ATP calendar, and the biggest men’s tennis tournament in Asia.
Played on hard courts at the Qizhong Forest Sports City Arena, it is held every October.
Men’s tennis first came to China in 1996, when a lower-level tournament was staged in Shanghai. In recognition of the region’s fast-growing market, the ATP named the country’s largest city as host of the Tennis Masters Cup in 2002. The end-of-season championships were also played there from 2005 - 2008, but in 2009 it was announced that a new Shanghai Masters event would replace the Hamburg Masters.
The state-of-the-art Qizhong Forest Sports City Arena was purpose-built, and is one of the most impressive tennis venues in the world. With a retractable roof that opens in the manner of a blooming magnolia flower, the stadium seats up to 15,000 spectators and is also used for gymnastics, basketball and volleyball competitions throughout the year.
Although only four editions of the Shanghai Masters have been played, Andy Murray has established himself as the tournament’s most successful player. He beat Roger Federer to win his first title in 2010, and defended it the following year with victory over David Ferrer.
Nikolay Davydenko was the inaugural winner in Shanghai, and Novak Djokovic won in 2012. Since finishing runner-up in 2009, Rafael Nadal has suffered two shock losses at the event, falling to Jurgen Melzer in 2010 and Florian Mayer in 2011.
Ferrer def. Roddick, 2011 quarter-final:
By the time they faced off in the last eight of the Shanghai Masters in 2011, Andy Roddick and David Ferrer were familiar foes. Ferrer had beaten Roddick in the American’s home town of Austin, Texas during a Davis Cup clash, before Roddick exacted revenge at the US Open. The first set of their Shanghai quarter-final was a nail-biter, but the big-serving Roddick capitalised on some uncharacteristic Ferrer errors to sneak it on a tie-break. In the second, the Spaniard found his range and began to hit winners from both sides, breaking Roddick twice to force a deciding set. Both men produced some of their best tennis as the match reached its climax: Roddick serving aggressively and moving forward when he had the opportunity; Ferrer staying consistent from the baseline and unleashing superb passing shots. In the third set tie-break, it was Ferrer who proved the steadier player, hitting his 11th ace on the way to securing victory in 2 hours, 34 minutes of gruelling tennis.
Video: Ferrer v Roddick, 2011
Djokovic def. Murray, 2012 final:
Expectations were high before the 2012 Shanghai Masters final. Andy Murray had had a major breakthrough just two months earlier, beating Novak Djokovic in a titanic US Open final to win his first Grand Slam title. The Scot began his campaign for a third consecutive Shanghai trophy by edging an uneven first set that featured seven breaks of serve. The second set saw more intense rallies, but Murray managed to break in the seventh game, and served for the match at 5-4. Yet just as he had done in the final in New York, Djokovic fought back, saving a match point with powerful and courageous hitting. In a second set tie-break lasting 20 minutes, Murray earned four further match points, but the Serb denied him on each occasion, ripping nerveless winners on the first three and forcing an error on the fourth. A devilish wrong-footing drive volley from Djokovic on his fourth set point pushed the match to a decider, and an enraged Murray was forced to endure the pain of seeing victory slip from his grasp. The Scot tried to play more aggressively in the final set in a bid to shorten the points, but his merciless opponent kept pressing, and played the big points with more conviction. When Murray sent a final backhand long on match point down, Djokovic’s stunning comeback was complete, and he picked up his first Shanghai Masters title. The 3 hour, 21 minute battle was the longest three-set final of 2012, and provided further confirmation that when Murray and Djokovic play each other, drama - and exhaustion - is guaranteed.
Video: Djokovic v Murray, 2012
- Shanghai was the first city in Asia to use the Hawk-Eye Challenge System.
- A public vote decided which of three trophy designs should be used at the tournament.
- Roger Federer received extra bodyguard protection at the 2012 Shanghai Masters after receiving a death threat from a Chinese blogger.
- Shanghai was voted the ATP Masters Tournament of the Year from 2009 - 2011.
- In 2012, two matches lasted the maximum number of games (39): John Isner beat Kevin Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 7-6, and Marcos Baghdatis edged Milos Raonic by the same scoreline.
- The event is sponsored by Rolex.