Second seed Andy Murray is in the market for a third career Shanghai Rolex Masters trophy and if his opening match Wednesday night was any indication he’s in solid form.
Murray posted a confident 6-3, 6-2 second round win – he received a first round bye – over American Steve Johnson.
“I thought I played well,” Murray said. “After the first game I don’t think he had any break points on my serve, and then I felt like I was creating a lot of chances on his serve. I thought I moved well for the first match in new conditions. I was timing the ball well.”
It was only their second career meeting with the last coming at the recent Olympic Games in Rio where Murray won the three-set quarterfinal en route to retaining his Olympic gold medal from the 2012 London Games.
Murray has won five titles this year, including a third major trophy at Wimbledon. He arrived in Shanghai straight off of capturing the Beijing title in a final outing against Grigor Dimitrov.
“If I have a strong three, four events (ahead), it will be my best year to date in terms of consistency, in terms of the titles I won, and how many events I have got to the latter stages of. So, at my age, I’m very happy about that, that I’m still progressing, still improving.”
Third seed Stan Wawrinka, the reigning US Open champion, has already won four titles this season and wouldn’t mind adding a first Shanghai trophy to his collection.
Like Murray, Wawrinka received a first round bye, and was off to a good start Wednesday when he stopped British qualifier Kyle Edmund 6-3, 6-4. Although Wawrinka withdrew from the Beijing tournament last week with a bad back, he was ready for action this week.
“On the court I think I was playing good today,” Wawrinka said. “Moving well, also, that’s the most important thing when I have some back problem, and I feel more or less 100 percent.”
It was another disappointment for fourth seed Rafael Nadal, who went up against a determined Victor Triocki of Serbia under the lights. Troicki ousted Nadal 6-3, 7-6 (3), leaving Shanghai as one of three of the nine ATP Masters 1000s – the others are Miami and Paris-Bercy – that Nadal is yet to win.
“I played against a player that his serve was huge during the whole time,” Nadal said. “I played better than in Beijing, but was not the day to win. I need to keep working, need to adjust things, need to put the things together.”
Spaniard Marcel Granollers scored the early upset of the day by edging out seventh seed Tomas Berdych of Czech Republic 7-6 (4), 7-6 (1). Berdych had been a quarterfinalist the past two years in Shanghai, and his best performance at the tournament came in 2012 when he journeyed to the semifinals.
Qualifier Mischa Zverev of Germany upset 12th seed Nick Kyrgios of Australia 6-3, 6-1 in another second round match. Shanghai marks the ninth time Zverev’s qualified for a tour-level event this season. At Shenzen, he advanced to the quarterfinals as a qualifier. Zverev’s teen-age brother, Alexander, is also into the third round here in Shanghai. He upset eighth seed Marin Cilic of Croatia in three sets on Tuesday.
Top seed Novak Djokovic will spar with Canadian qualifier Vasek Pospisil for a spot in the quarterfinals. While Djokovic should be comfortable with his 3-0 lead on Pospisil, their previous matches weren’t lopsided and Pospisil’s serve can be a motivating weapon.
Murray takes on 13th seed Lucas Pouille of France, with the Frenchman making his presence known this year on the tour. Pouille most notably showed improvement by reaching the quarterfinals at Wimbledon and the US Open. The only previous meeting between the two was on clay in the Rome semifinals and Murray took it 6-2, 6-1.