Saturday School: Most successful men in the Land of the Red Dragon

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The 2018 tennis season will soon see players compete in the Asian swing. This phase of the season sees China being host to some of the most important tournaments on tour. Two ATP 250 tournaments at Chengdu and Shenzhen, an ATP 500 tournament at Beijing and a ATP Masters 1000 tournament in Shanghai are the most important tournaments in the men’s circuit in China. A data was collected which analyzed the win-loss record of the most successful players in China since 2010 having played a minimum of 20 matches at the Land of the Red Dragon. Out of the players who fulfilled this criteria, the ten best players were selected.

NOVAK DJOKOVIC (48-3, 94.1%)

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Image: Zimbio

Novak Djokovic has easily the most impressive and successful player in China over the past eight. Since 2010, he has made six appearances at the Shanghai Masters in which he thrice reached the semifinals and thrice won the title. However, the Serb’s more impressive run has been at Beijing where he has won six titles in six appearances, five of which came after 2010. The former World No.1 last won the titles at Beijing and Shanghai in 2015. The only players to defeat Djokovic in China since 2010 are Roberto Bautista Agut (2016) and Roger Federer (2010 & 2014).

ANDY MURRAY (36-5, 87.8%)

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Image: Reuters

In 2014, Andy Murray took part at the ATP 250 event in Shenzhen for the first and only time till date and won the event. In 2010, 2014 and 2016 he entered the ATP 500 at Beijing. In his first two appearances he lost to Ivan Ljubicic and Novak Djokovic in the quarterfinals and semifinals respectively. In 2016, he defeated Grigor Dimitrov in the finals to win the event. Murray holds three Shanghai Masters titles to his name in his six appearances at the tournament. David Ferrer in 2014 and Novak Djokovic in 2012 and 2015 are the only players to defeat the Briton at Shanghai. The former World No.1 will make his second appearance at Shenzhen in 2018.

ROGER FEDERER (18-4, 81.8%)

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The only Chinese tournament that Roger Federer has taken part is the Shanghai Masters. In his six appearances at the tournament, the Swiss Maestro’s best results were winning the event twice in 2014 and 2017. The four times that Federer lost at Shanghai saw Andy Murray (2010,2012), Gael Monfils (2013) and Albert Ramos-Vinolas (2015) on the other side of the net.

RAFAEL NADAL (29-11, 72.5%)

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Rafael Nadal is currently placed at the top spot in the rankings but his stay at No.1 ranking now lies in danger as the Spaniard has pulled out of the Asian swing. Nadal won his second title at Beijing last year. Before 2017, Nadal managed to reach the finals of Beijing twice and ended as the quarterfinalist on two other occasions since 2010. Novak Djokovic (2013 & 2015), Martin Klizan (2014) and Grigor Dimitrov (2016) are the players who have defeated Nadal at Beijing in the last eight years. Nadal has won a record 33 ATP Masters titles in his career. However, the Spaniard is yet to win a title in Shanghai. Last year he reached the finals for the second time at Shanghai but lost to Roger Federer in the finals. Since 2010, he was twice eliminated in the second round, twice in the Round of 16 and twice in the semifinals.

TOMAS BERDYCH (30-12, 71.4%)

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Struggling with a back injury since the beginning of the season, Tomas Berdych skipped the hard court season and is uncertain for the Asian swing this year. The Czech played twice (2015 & 2016) at Shenzhen and won the title on both occasions. At Beijing, he defeated Marin Cilic to win the title in 2011. Ever since, the Czech’s best result at the event was reaching the finals in 2014 wherein he lost to Novak Djokovic. The former World No.4 has been moderately successful at the Shanghai Masters. He reached the semi-finals in 2012 which is his best result at the Masters event in China.

JO-WILFRIED TSONGA (22-9, 71%)

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After 2010, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga has entered the tournament at Beijing only thrice of which his best result was finishing as the runner-up in 2012. At the Shanghai Masters, the Frenchman has thrice reached the quarterfinals in his six appearances. Considered to be one of the four modern Musketeers of tennis (alongside Gael Monfils, Richard Gasquet and Gilles Simon), Tsonga’s best result at Shanghai was reaching the finals in 2015.

DAVID FERRER (21-12, 63.6%)

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David Ferrer made his lone appearance at Shenzhen in 2014 where he lost to Viktor Troicki in the Round of 16. In 2010, he lost to Novak Djokovic in the finals at Beijing and to Andy Murray in the finals at the Shanghai Masters. Since then, Ferrer’s best results in China were finishing in the final four stage in 2015 & 2016 at Beijing and reaching the quarterfinals at the Shanghai Masters in 2014. In 2016, the former Top 3 player played the final match of his career in China at the Shanghai Masters where he lost to Feliciano Lopez in the first round.

FELICIANO LOPEZ (20-12, 62.5%)

Feliciano Lopez - Jared Donaldson
Image: Tips-Odds

Feliciano Lopez took part in the inaugural Chengdu Open in 2016 where he was the fourth seed. He lost in the quarterfinals to eventual champion Karen Khachanov. Lopez appeared thrice at Beijing since 2010 in which his best result was reaching the semifinals in 2012. He had to retire mid-match against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga who was leading 6-1 4-1. In the last eight years, Lopez has twice made it to the semifinals at the Shanghai Masters (2011 & 2014). However, in his other six appearances, he has failed to go beyond the round of 16.

JOHN ISNER (20-12, 62.5%)

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Image: Zimbio

World No.10 John Isner reached the semifinals at Beijing in 2010. Since then, in his four appearances at the event he lost each time in the quarterfinals. At the Shanghai Masters, Isner has not made an impact in his seven appearances since 2010 and is yet to go beyond the Round of 16.

GILLES SIMON (17-11, 60.7%)

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Image: ProKerala

Gilles Simon only once entered the ATP 250 event at Shenzhen wherein he lost in the opening round to Ricardas Berankis in straight sets. In his two appearances at Beijing, the Frenchman reached the quarterfinals in 2010 and lost in the first round to Marcel Granollers-Pujol in 2011. Simon’s most successful tournament in China has been the Shanghai Masters. In 2014 at Shanghai, he reached the finals of a Masters event for the second time in his career but lost to Novak Djokovic in two tiebreaker sets. At the same event in 2016, Simon ended his run as the semifinalist, losing to eventual champion Andy Murray.


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