If Novak Djokovic can hoist the Rolex Shanghai Masters trophy on Sunday he would become the winningest player in tournament history with four titles to his credit. But with the heavily weighted field at this year’s event it is way too soon for anyone to anticipate being the 2018 champion at Qizhong Tennis Center.
That said, the second-seeded Djokovic clearly went into his opening match of the tournament feeling fairly confident of winning the match. He’s played Frenchman Jeremy Chardy in the past and had won all 11 matches and all 26 sets they’ve contested.
On Tuesday night, he improved his dominance over Chardy by securing a 6-3, 7-5 second-round win to now hold a 12-0 match record and 28-0 sets record against the Frenchman.
“I’m very grateful to play on a high level,” Djokovic said. “I think that I’m very close to my best, you know, and “best” changes day-to-day. I can always strive to be the best I can be on that given day. Today’s performance was pretty close to that.”
Chardy did his best to try to push Djokovic into a third set by staying even throughout most of the second set. In the end, Chardy saved one match point when serving in the final game, but sailed a shot long to surrender his serve – and the match – five points later.
Djokovic, the reigning Wimbledon and U.S. Open champion, was the first player to win at least one title at all nine of the ATP Masters 1000 events which has been referred to as the Golden Masters. In Shanghai he won the 2012, 2013 and 2015 titles.
Fifth-seeded Marin Cilic of Croatia was sent packing by 48th-ranked Nicolas Jarry of Chile 2-6, 7-6 (6), 7-5. Cilic served for the match at 5-4 in the second set, but Jarry refused to be deterred. He broke Cilic’s serve and won the the last two games of the match to advance to the third-round.
The 51st-ranked Matthew Ebden of Australia captured the biggest win of his career on Tuesday. The 30-year-old ousted sixth-seeded Dominic Thiem of Austria in a hard fought 6-4, 6-7 (8), 7-6 (4) second-round win.
“It was not my best day but I fought hard to the end and he played very well,” Thiem said.
Ebden’s best previous victory was in beating eighth-ranked Mardy Fish at the 2012 Indian Wells tournament. The seventh-ranked Thiem has yet to find his footing in Shanghai. He’s now played here four times for a 3-8 win-loss record and has never advanced to the third-round.
Nikoloz Basilashvili of Georgia and Daniil Medvedev of Russia – the two big upset champions at tournaments last week – were in action in Shanghai and came through to reach the second-round.
Basilashvili, who upset fourth-seeded Juan Martin del Potro in the Beijing final on Sunday for his biggest career victory, required only 57-minutes to defeat Canadian Denis Shapovalov 6-2, 6-2. Playing at a career-high ranking of No. 23, Basilashvili never offered Shapovalov a break point in the encounter.
The Georgian is cruising on an impressive 16-5 winning record since he won his first career title as a qualifier at the Hamburg, Germany tournament in July.
Unlike Basilashvili, the first-round win here didn’t come easily for Medvedev, who was within two points of losing to wildcard recipient Zhang Ze of China. Nevertheless, Medvedev prevented Zhang from winning his first main draw match here in nine attempts by moving into the second-round courtesy of a 3-6, 7-6 (7), 6-4 win.
Medvedev upset Kei Nishikori, the hometown favorite, in the Tokyo tournament on Sunday.
Top-seeded Roger Federer, hoping to win a third career Shanghai title this week, finally heads to the stadium court on Wednesday where Medvedev will be waiting. The 22-year-old Medvedev, who is playing on a career-high ranking of No. 22, has never before had the pleasure of facing off against the 20-time Grand Slam champion.