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Monday, 17 December, 2018

Swiss ace Roger Federer will be hard to beat in Shanghai

US Open champion Naomi Osaka can star in Hong Kong

Roger Federer shows no sign of age catching up with him
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ATP Shanghai
Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer predictably take up the majority of the market in Shanghai and it’s difficult to see an upset in a tournament which has been dominated by the game's greats.

The legendary duo have secured five of the last six titles in Shanghai between them and if both arrive in rude health their superiority should continue.

There are some potential obstacles in the way but fewer for Federer, who makes most appeal at the prices given his proven success when fresh.

The Swiss ace has been picky with his appearances over the past few seasons and his light schedule should enable him to give maximum effort in his title defence.

Kei Nishikori and Juan Martin del Potro, two dangerous seeds housed in his half of the draw, were involved in title-deciders in Tokyo and Beijing respectively last week and may struggle to follow up.

Djokovic, on the other hand, has Marin Cilic, Kevin Anderson and Alexander Zverev on his side of the draw and that makes things tougher.

The rejuvenated Serb is the right favourite after claiming successive Majors at Wimbledon and the US Open.

However, Djokovic was an early casualty in the Canadian Open - a tournament he was won four times - in his first event after tasting Grand Slam glory in London.

He was also beaten in three sets by big-serving Anderson in the Laver Cup last month and can be opposed at short prices.

R Federer
1pt 7-2 Betfred

WTA Hong Kong
The added pressure of being US Open champion has not affected Naomi Osaka and the Japanese star should take plenty of stopping in Hong Kong.

It wouldn't have come as a surprise to see Osaka's game dip after her Grand Slam breakthrough, but instead she has got stronger and the consistency of her performances suggest she has plenty of big days ahead.

The promising youngster made the final of the Pan Pacific Open on her reappearance and followed that up with a run to the last four in Wuhan last week.

Her draw looks particularly generous as her fellow seeds in her half struggle for form and it would be disappointing if she can't take full advantage. 

Jelena Ostapenko has been laboured for most of the season and was double bagelled by Qiang Wang in Beijing last week, while Lesia Tsurenko was thumped 6-1 6-1 by Osaka in the US Open and has been an early casualty in her both events since.

Osaka's opening two matches will be against qualifiers which will allow her to ease into the event and she looks a shrewd each-way wager.

N Osaka
2pts each-way 11-2 Paddy Power

WTA Tianjin
In-form duo Karolina Pliskova and Aryna Sabalenka, a finalist 12 months ago, headline the action in Tianjin with the market leaders expected to meet in a mouthwatering quarter-final.

Punters should focus on the bottom half of the draw and Elise Mertens catches the eye.

The Belgian made the last eight at the US Open and has the quality to go deep in a quarter that may not take that much winning.

The world number 14 has already secured four career titles despite being just 22 and has an excellent chance to add to her achievements in China.

E Mertens
1pt each-way 10-1 Betfred

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Djokovic has Marin Cilic, Kevin Anderson and Alexander Zverev on his side of the draw
E.W. Terms
Sky bet