Andy Murray faces new nightmare at Shanghai Masters as Alcaraz avoids group of death


Andy Murray has been handed another tough draw in the Asian swing.

Andy Murray has been handed another nightmare draw as the Asian swing concludes with the Shanghai Masters. This time, the Brit has drawn recent Chengdu finalist Roman Safiullin in the first round with the winner to face Alexander Zverev. Meanwhile, Carlos Alcaraz heads up the more forgiving top half of the draw, with dangerous players like Daniil Medvedev, Jannik Sinner, Holger Rune and Casper Ruud all in the more challenging bottom half.

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The Shanghai Masters is returning to the tennis calendar for the first time since 2019, being staged over 11 days with a massive 96-player draw. It’s the last chance for ATP stars to finish the Asian swing strong – but that’s something Murray will have a tough time doing after receiving another brutal draw.

The former world No 1 set his sights on having a solid end to the 2023 tennis season ahead of the Asian swing a few weeks ago. But he has since suffered a second-round exit in Zhuhai and a heartbreaking first-round defeat to Alex de Minaur at the China Open. In Beijing, he blew three match points and served for the win at 5-3 in the final set.

And things won’t get any easier for Murray, who takes on Safiullin in his opener. The Russian recently cracked the top 50 for the first time in his career after reaching his maiden final on the ATP Tour. Safiullin raced to a set-and-break lead over Zverev before losing in three sets but he will come into Shanghai in form, proving a formidable opponent for Murray.

If Murray does get through his first match, he will have an even bigger challenge on his hands as No 9 seed Zverev awaits in the second round. Otherwise, it could be a Chengdu final rematch for Safiullin. But the draw has been more kind to some other players, including Alcaraz.

The world No 2 received a savage draw at the Beijing ATP 500 but will have some room to breathe in Shanghai as he gets a bye into the second round where he will face either Nuno Borges or Gregoire Barrere. The highest seed in his half of the draw is Stefanos Tsitsipas – who has been out of form of late – and the pair could only meet in the semi-final.

Medvedev is the most recent champion in Shanghai, defeating Zverev in the final the last time the tournament was played in 2019. The world No 3 and Murray are the only two former champions in the draw since the event became a Masters 1000 in 2009.

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