Daniil Medvedev attempts to reach the third round of the Shanghai Masters for the first time in his career when he takes in Great Britain’s Cameron Norrie on Tuesday.
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Medvedev has been in absolutely stunning form over the last two and a half months, amassing an incredible 24-3 record in his last five tournaments, and reaching the final in all five events.
Medvedev has won two of those finals, claiming his maiden Masters 1000 title in Cincinnati, and winning the ATP 250 event in St. Petersburg. He lost finals in Washington (to Nick Kyrgios), Montreal and the US Open (both to Nadal). Overall, the Russian leads the tour with 54 match wins (and only 17 defeats) in a season during which he also won Sofia and made other finals in Brisbane and Barcelona.
He has also attained a new career-high ranking of No. 4 this year, a position he currently maintains, and has qualified for the Nitto ATP Finals for the first time in his career. However, his record in Shanghai needs some serious brushing up, as he has only won one match in his two previous visits to the Chinese feeling. There’s an excellent chance that narrative might change this week.
Medvedev is in the section of the Shanghai draw that houses both Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic and he could meet both men in consecutive rounds later in the tournament. Firstly, he must first take care of his second round meeting with Cameron Norrie.
Norrie is looking to win consecutive matches for the first time in six tournaments, as he seeks a return to form with the season coming to an end.
The last time Norrie won two straight matches was in Atlanta in July, where he made the semi-finals. Since then, he has fallen in the second round in Los Cabos, Montreal, Zhuhai and Beijing, while he crashed in the first round at the US Open.
The left-hander entered Beijing through the qualifying rounds, beating Brayden Schnur and Thomas Fabiano to get into the main draw, where he continued in a similar vein, scoring a 7-5 6-2 victory over Gilles Simon. Norrie broke twice to take a tight opening set, but he pulled away in the second set, opening up a 4-0 lead, before closing out the match after an hour and 34 minutes.
Outside that Atlanta semi-final, Norrie reached his first tour-level final in Auckland at the start of the season, while he subsequently made a semi-final at the ATP 500 meet in Acapulco, and reached the third round of the Monte Carlo. The Brit, who is 20-21 for the season, started the year outside the top-90, but he shot straight to 68th after his Auckland heroics at the start of the year, and has maintained a top-70 ranking since then, despite a largely indifferent form.
Is Norrie the man to inflict a rare early defeat on Medvedev?
Norrie will not be short of endeavour, but Medvedev has become almost unbeatable over the last couple of months, and he should again be too tough for the Brit.
Daniil Medvedev vs Cameron Norrie is live from Shanghai on Tuesday, 8 October from 8:00pm local time/ 1:00pm BST