Wu Yibing to take on Simon as Shanghai Rolex Masters gets underway

The main draw of the 2017 Shanghai Rolex Masters was unveiled on Saturday.
Wu Yibing to take on Simon as Shanghai Rolex Masters gets underway
Ti Gong

China's Zhang Ze (right) took part in the 2017 Shanghai Rolex Masters main draw ceremony on Saturday.

China’s rising star Wu Yibing will face Frenchman Gilles Simon in the first round of the Shanghai Rolex Masters on Sunday while the world's top ranked players, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer, face the prospect of meeting each other in the final.

As the tournament's top two seeds they were placed in the opposite halves at a draw ceremony at the Bund for Asia’s only ATP Masters 1000 tournament on Saturday.

The 17-year-old Wu won a wildcard in the main draw after winning the ATP Challenger in Shanghai last month. That followed his headline-grabbing success at the 2017 US Open where he won the boys' singles and the doubles titles.

He is currently the world no.1 in the ITF Juniors ranking.

Federer, the tournament’s second seed, is in Wu’s half.

There are 56 entries in the singles main draw, including four wildcards and seven qualifiers. The top eight seeds get a first-round bye.

The draw, which was conducted in the presence of tennis legend Bjorn Borg, world No. 7 Dominic Thiem and China’s No. 1 player Zhang Ze, started out by placing the top two seeds, Spain's Nadal and Switzerland's Federer, in opposite halves.

If the 31-year-old Nadal and 36-year-old Federer can battle past the other talented and younger players in the tournament, it could provide an exciting final scenario for Shanghai fans. World No. 1 Nadal has a 23-14 winning record against the world No. 2 Federer.

Alexander Zverev from Germany and Marin Cilic from Croatia took up the remaining two quarters as third and fourth seeds.

Nadal, a Shanghai finalist in 2009, could be looking at a quarterfinal clash with sixth seed Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria. If Nadal gets through, he could possibly face fourth seed Cilic, 11th seed Kevin Anderson from South Africa or 13th seed Nick Kyrgios of Australia in the semifinals. 

Wu Yibing to take on Simon as Shanghai Rolex Masters gets underway
Dong Jun / SHINE

Roger Federer interacts with a Disney cartoon character at the Family Day of the 2017 Shanghai Rolex Masters at Minhang's Qizhong Tennis Center. Chinese player Wu Di also attended the event.

Federer could meet Belgian David Goffin in the quarterfinals but he could face tough challenges from last year’s runner-up Roberto Bautista Agut of Spain and 14th seed American Jack Sock. If Federer, the 2015 Shanghai winner, can charge all the way into the semifinals, his possible opponents include third seed Zverev, Austria’s fifth seed Dominic Thiem and 16th seed Juan Martin del Potro of Argentina.

Another Chinese wildcard holder Wu Di will take on a qualifier in the first round while Zhang Ze will battle American Ryan Harrison in the opening round.

“Harrison and I know each other well since we played youth tournaments together,” Zhang said. “I always wanted to achieve a good result in Shanghai, but I didn't set a specific goal for myself this year. I just want to take it step by step and play every match in an exciting way and entertain the fans.”

Zhang lost to Germany’s Mischa Zverev 1-6, 2-6 in the first round last year here. The 27-year-old, whose current world rank is 211, said that advancing to the world’s top 100 still remains his dream. His highest ranking was No. 148 in 2013.

In Saturday’s qualifying round matches, Chinese wildcard holder Zhang Zhizhen lost 4-6, 4-6 to American opponent Frances Tiafoe. His compatriot and wildcard holder Bai Yan also lost, beaten 3-6, 1-6 by Jordan Thompson of Australia.

Wu Yibing to take on Simon as Shanghai Rolex Masters gets underway
Wang Rongjiang / SHINE

Roger Federer attends a fans party at Hotel Indigo on the Bund tonight.

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