TENNIS: SHANGHAI MASTERS

The ATP 1000 Shanghai Rolex Masters is underway in China and I’m sticking with Rafael Nadal, my tip for last month’s US Open, to grab his eight title of 2010.

Spain’s world No.1 is the current French Open, Wimbledon and US Open champion, the first man to win three Grand Slam championships in a row since Rod Laver captured the lot in 1969.

The 24-year-old Mallorcan heads to Shanghai in the form of his life. He bagged his seventh title on Sunday, marking his Japan Open debut in Tokyo with a 6-1 7-5 victory over Frenchman Gael Monfils.

Nadal is favourite with bookmakers and is a best-priced 3-1 with Victor Chandler, while Roger Federer, making his first appearance since his US Open semi-final defeat to Novak Djokovic is 9-2 with Skybet.

Serb ace Djokovic, who is now world No.2 ahead of Federer, can be grabbed at Paddy Power (11-2).

British No.1 and world No.4 Andy Murray, who has endured a disappointing 2010, could come good and if you fancy the Scot to capture only his second title of the season, he’s on offer with Stan James, Ladbrokes, Coral and Betfred at
8-1.

I can’t see past Nadal but if he was to fail it’s hard to see beyond, Federer, Djokovic or Murray.

Indeed if the Fab Four were to flounder the eventual winner would likely come from another quartet of Robin Soderling (25-1), defending champion Nikolay Davydenko (33-1), Tomas Berdych or Andy Roddick (both 40-1). Backing any of them to win outright would considerably boost your bank balance.

If the seedings go to form the semi-final line-up will be Nadal v Murray and Djokovic v Federer.

I expect the final to be Nadal v Federer which is priced at 5-1 with Skybet. A repeat of the US Open Nadal v Djokovic final is also 5-1 while Skybet offer 10s on Murray v Djokovic or Murray v Federer.

The Fab Four have each received first-round byes and aren’t in action until later in the week so in the meantime I’ve got my eyes on today’s first-round clash between Gilles Simon of France (9-10, Victor Chandler) and Swiss Stanislas Wawrinka (10-11, bodog) but it’s too close too call.

The pair have never met on the ATP Tour but I fancy this one going three sets, available at 13-10 with boylesports.

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