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Sunday, 16 December, 2018

Gavrilova could struggle to keep tabs on Shuai Zhang

Chinese ace could be ready to go again after Beijing efforts

Shuai Zhang reaches wide against Naomi Osaka in Beijing last week
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ATP Shanghai Masters
Sky Sports Action, from 6am Friday
WTA Hong Kong Open
BT Sport 1, from 7am Friday 

Daria Gavrilova has enjoyed a couple of confidence-boosting victories in Hong Kong this week, but she may still need to find more to trouble quarter-final opponent Shuai Zhang.

The Russian has needed three sets to see off both Zarina Diyas and Monica Niculescu and a clash against Zhang is pretty much a step up in class given the way the Chinese ace has been performing.

This week she has ousted two qualifiers in Sabina Sharipova and Lesley Kerkhove. But she may be yet to find top gear in the wake of her superb efforts in Beijing last week against Wimbledon champion Angelique Kerber, who she defeated, and US Open heroine Naomi Osaka, who fought back late on to thwart Zhang.

There could well be better to come from Zhang and if she reproduces the form she showed in the Chinese capital, Gavrilova could struggle to keep tabs on her.

In the Shanghai Masters, top seed Roger Federer could face a tough outing against Kei Nishikori, who is back to somewhere near his brilliant best after a low-key start to the campaign.

Shuai Zhang
1pt 10-11 general

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Zhang may be yet to find top gear in Hong Kong in the wake of her superb efforts last week against Grand Slam champs Angelique Kerber and Naomi Osaka
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