Jo-Wilfried Tsonga is back at the Shanghai Rolex Masters in hopes of going one round further than he did during the 2016 installment of the tournament.
The ninth-seeded Tsonga journeyed all the way to the final last year, falling to world No. 1 Novak Djokovic in straight sets.
Tsonga, currently ranked No. 13, showed excellent form in turning aside Florian Mayer of Germany 6-3, 6-2 in a first-round encounter on Monday.
Play in the 71-minute match stayed on form to 3-3 in the first set when Tsonga pulled away to win the next three games, solidifying a one-set advantage.
Tsonga, who won the doubles title here in 2009 with Julien Benneteau, dominated the second set after Mayer held serve in the opening game. Tsonga won the next five games to go ahead 5-1, which virtually guaranteed his place in the second round.
Two of the most promising teens in the business – 19-year-old Alexander Zverev of Germany and 18-year-old Taylor Fritz of the US – advanced to the second round on Monday.
The 21st-ranked Zverez, known to most as Sasha, had a surprisingly easy time of it, ousting American John Isner 6-4, 6-2.
In both sets, Zverev went out to a 2-0 lead, but in the first set he lost that edge to find himself tied at 4-4 before winning the final two games of the set. In the second set, he added to his advantage by breaking serve, once again, in the seventh game.
The 71st-ranked Fritz, who came through the qualifying rounds, went the distance before bypassing Stephane Robert of France 7-6 (2), 2-6, 6-3.
Fritz seemed to waver in energy after the grueling first set, allowing Robert to take a commanding 4-1 lead in the second set. The American steadied in the third set and from 2-1 on serve for Robert captured five of the next six games to score the first-round victory.
British qualifier Kyle Edmund overcame Federico Delbonis of Argentina 6-3, 5-7, 6-4. For his troubles, Edmund earned a second round adventure against third-seeded Stan Wawrinka, the reigning US Open champion.
American Steve Johnson posted a 6-4, 6-3 win over Martin Klizan of Slovakia to set up a meeting with world No. 2 Andy Murray on Wednesday. Murray arrived in Shanghai fresh from winning his fifth title of the year at Beijing.
Top seed Novak Djokovic begins defense of his Shanghai Rolex Masters title with an outing against Fabio Fognini. Djokovic’s only lost two sets in seven meetings against the Italian.
There’s potential for a real first-round battle when 11th-seeded David Goffin of Belgium squares off against wildcard recipient Juan Martin del Potro of Argentina.
In recent months, Del Potro, the 2009 US Open champion, won the Olympic silver medal, reached the US Open quarterfinals, and guided Argentina to the upcoming Davis Cup final with a semifinal upset over Great Britain.