The Shanghai Masters is one of the final tournaments on the 2012 ATP schedule, and a strong performance by Roger Federer would help him maintain his No. 1 world ranking as Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray, ranked No. 2 and No. 3, try to close the gap on the Swiss champion.
There won't be too many more chances this year for Djokovic or Murray to claim the top ranking, but both of them are capable of winning in Shanghai.
Here is the top five ATP men's rankings as of October 1.
While Djokovic will add 500 points to his total tomorrow with his results from Beijing, Murray's total will drop with his failure to defend his title in Japan, so it will be difficult for Murray to close most of the gap between himself and Federer.
However, Murray is the defending champion of this tournament and one of the favorites this year.
Murray will attempt to conclude the most successful season of his professional career with another impressive victory. His most recent tournament was the ATP Rakuten Japan Open Tennis Championships in Tokyo, where he was knocked out in the semifinal round by Milos Raonic.
Djokovic will not only be motivated to catch Federer in the world rankings, he will be focused on preventing Murray from winning another tournament. Murray defeated the Serbian star in the final of the U.S. Open last month, and prevented Djokovic from defending his title in New York.
The world No. 2 won the ATP China Open on Sunday over Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, and will be well on his way to recapturing the top ranking if he wins in Shanghai. Djokovic is playing very well right now, and his opponents will likely have to play at a near-perfect level to defeat him.
Federer will certainly be a top contender at the Shanghai Masters, and has enjoyed a good amount of success in China during his career.
He is currently in the second round thanks to a Round 1 bye, and his first opponent in Shanghai will be the winner of the first-round match between Yen-Hsun Lu and Ze Zhang.
The Swiss star is the tournament's top seed, and you can bet that maintaining his No. 1 ranking would be a huge victory for Federer as his successful 2012 season nears its conclusion.