Top seed and defending champion Novak Djokovic kept his perfect record against Canadian qualifier Vasek Pospisil intact as he posted a 6-4, 6-4 win to reach the Shanghai Rolex Masters quarterfinals.
Djokovic has now played Pospisil four times and has yet to drop a set, although the Canadian’s serve tends to help him fight in matches.
In the first set, Djokovic cruised to a 4-0 lead before Pospisil settled in, taking the next three games. But the effort wasn’t enough to keep the world No. 1 from taking a further advantage. The second set stayed on serve through 3-3 when Djokovic won three of the final four games.
“I thought it was a great quality of tennis today from both players,” Djokovic said. “I was very pleased with the way I played from the first to last point. I don’t think I dropped my level at all.”
Second seed Andy Murray furthered his quest for a third title in Shanghai with a confident 6-1, 6-3 win over 13th seed Lucas Pouille of France.
Frenchman Gilles Simon upset third seed Stan Wawrinka 6-4, 6-4 to return to a Shanghai quarterfinals for the third time in his career. Simon’s best showing here was reaching the 2014 final.
American Jack Sock continues to show the best form of his career this year. He saved two match points in the third set tiebreaker to upset fifth seed Milos Raonic of Canada 0-6, 6-4, 7-6 (8).
Sock, who won Olympic gold in mixed doubles with Bethanie Mattek-Sands, and bronze in doubles with Steve Johnson, is playing with confidence.
Sock won the first match the two ever played at the 2013 Memphis tournament, but lost the next eight before turning in a winning performance Thursday. It was a curious match in which Sock never seemed present in the first set, later explaining his arm has been a bit sore.
“Towards the end of the year, it’s with a lot of guys, injuries might come up,” Sock said. “For me, obviously, a lot of things go through my right arm and my ibuprofen (pain tablet) didn’t kick in until the middle of the second set.”
Nevertheless, Raonic showed some vulnerabilities in the opening set such as in the third game where he double-faulted four times before holding serve.
The 11th seed David Goffin of Belgium rallied from a set down to outmaneuver sixth seed Gael Monfils of France 4-6, 6-4, 6-2.
The Zverev siblings – Alexander and Mischa – are the first brothers to journey to an ATP Masters 1000 round-of-16 since Olivier and Christophe Rochus of Belgium at Miami in 2006 Miami.
As it worked out only one brother will continue on to the Shanghai quarterfinals.
Surprisingly, it was older brother Mischa, ranked No. 110 and a qualifier into the Shanghai main draw, who advanced with a 6-7 (4), 6-4, 6-1 win over Marcel Granollers of Spain. Mischa Zverev, who also reached the Shenzhen quarterfinals, is the first qualifier to earn a spot in an ATP Masters 1000 quarterfinal this year.
The 18-year-old Alexander Zverev, ranked No. 21, recently became the youngest player and first teen since 2008 to win a title which he did in St. Petersburg. Zverev had his chances against ninth seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, even leading 4-1 in the third set. But in the end, the more experienced Tsonga moved along in the draw with a 6-7 (4), 6-2, 7-5 win.
The quarterfinal lineup for Friday finds top seed Novak Djokovic playing Mischa Zverev, second seed Andy Murray plays 11th seed David Goffin, ninth seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga faces 15th seed Roberto Bautista Agut of Spain, and Jack Sock takes on Gilles Simon.
This will be the second career meeting between Djokovic and Zverev; the last time was also a quarterfinal. In 2009, Djokovic scored a 6-3, 6-3 win at the Marseille tournament.
Murray is yet to drop a set against Goffin in their four previous meetings. They played in the Rome quarterfinals on clay earlier this season and the hard court is bound to be an even better surface for Murray on Friday.