by Sandra Harwitt
Three German players – Maximilian Marterer, Mischa Zverev and Peter Gojowczyk – were in action on the opening day of the Rolex Shanghai Masters on Sunday, but only one was able to secure a path to the second-round.
The 70th-ranked Gojowczyk improved his record to 2-0 over 12th-seeded American Jack Sock by taking a 6-4, 6-7 (6), 6-3 first-round win. Gojowczyk, who posted 17 aces in the match, earned his first victory over Sock at the Auckland tournament in January.
This marks Gojowczyk’s first main draw appearance in Shanghai having previously fallen in qualifying in 2014 and ’17.
Frenchman Jeremy Chardy was the first to spoil the hopes of a German opponent when he ushered Marterer to the exit by posting a 6-3, 7-6 (5) first-round win.
Chardy’s victory in which he saved all three break points he faced, delivered the Frenchman to the second-round. That next assignment will find him trying to do something he’s never done before in eleven previous attempts and that is to score a victory over Novak Djokovic.
“I’m happy with my match today,” Chardy said. “It was not easy because I was coming from Tokyo, which was indoors. I was really solid from beginning to end so it was good to make a match like this.”
Chilean Nicolas Jarry, armed with 18 aces in the match, upended Zverev in a hard-fought 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (5) outing that evened their career head-to-head to one match apiece. Zverev won their previous encounter, also a three-setter, at the Eastbourne tournament earlier this year.
As any tennis fan knows a ranking doesn’t always reflect who a player really is and that would be the case when it comes to Stan Wawrinka.
The 33-year-old Wawrinka arrived at this year’s Rolex Shanghai Masters ranked only No. 74, but with a sterling reputation as a former top 5 player with three Grand Slam singles titles to his credit.
Times became tough for Wawrinka in the latter part of 2017 when a left knee injury surfaced, eventually requiring two surgeries. This year the Swiss has been on the comeback trail and it’s been an up-and-down endeavor although there’s been steady progress in the last few months. Wawrinka recently reached the St. Petersburg semifinal last month, which was another important step in getting his groove back on the court.
This week in Shanghai, where he’s playing courtesy of a wildcard into the main draw, Wawrinka is considered a dangerous floater in the draw. His first task here at Qizhong Tennis Center is to play 13th-seeded Borna Coric of Croatia in the first-round.
The 21-year-old Coric, playing at a career-high ranking of No. 18, won his second career title in grand style this season, upsetting Roger Federer in a three-set final to win the Gerry Weber Open in Halle, Germany in June.
More recently, Coric won both of his singles matches to assist Croatia in reaching the upcoming Davis Cup final against France.
Wawrinka currently holds a 3-0 winning record against Coric, but the two haven’t encountered each other since the 2016 Chennai final. On Monday, Wawrinka will be looking to increase his perfect record against Coric, while the Croat will be hoping for a first career win over the Swiss.