Roger Federer showed some magical form on Tuesday night when he won his opening match at the 2019 Rolex Shanghai Masters.
The second-seeded Federer, now 38-years-old and into the 20th year of his career, played a quality match to sideline Albert Ramos-Vinolas of Spain 6-2, 7-6 (5). Federer, who had a first round bye, never allowed Ramos-Vinolas a break point opportunity in the second-round encounter.
Although the first set flowed easily in Federer’s favour, the Spaniard put up some resistance in the second set, even taking a 4-1 lead in the tiebreaker before surrendering the match.
“I focused and had good energy, because sometimes, you know, when you travel around the globe, you’re missing a bit of energy,” Federer said. “Those first few games or matches can be sometimes a bit tricky. I think serve was solid. I was hitting my spots and really was never in trouble there.”
Federer and Ramos-Vinolas last played here in Shanghai in the 2015 second-round. On that occasion the Spaniard got the better of Federer in three sets and heading into Tuesday’s match Federer was remembering what went down four years ago.
“All the time,” said Federer, when asked if he thought about their previous meeting in Shanghai. “The truth, yeah, I was thinking about it. Watched highlights. Remember how it felt. I had my chances. I won many more points that time than I lost, so I should have actually won that match.
“But he did very well there, and things turn very quickly here in Shanghai. Of course, that got my attention. I knew he could be dangerous, and that’s why I’m very pleased how I was able to control the match out there today.”
Russian Daniil Medvedev also served at a high level in his match against qualifier Cameron Norrie, which never saw the door open to a break point chance for the Briton. The third seed captured a 6-3, 6-1 win in 54-minutes to move onto the third round.
“I’m really happy with my performance, really happy with the score and am really looking forward to the next round,” Medvedev said. “It was my first match here in Shanghai after having a few weeks off, so I was a little bit stressed about how my level would be. I managed to get out of there in less than an hour.”
It was the end of the road for Andy Murray in Shanghai this year. The Brit, on the comeback trail following right hip resurfacing surgery, served for the match twice in the third set against Fabio Fognini, but couldn’t nail down the victory.
Murray ended up losing the three hour nine minute match 7-6 (4), 2-6, 7-6 (4), but despite the defeat the match showed that the three-time major winner is polishing his game for a return to full-time action.
Andrey Rublev stopped 12th-seeded Borna Coric, last year’s finalist here, out of contention by taking a 6-4, 7-6 (4) first-round win while Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz also scored an upset by defeating ninth seed Gael Monfils of France 6-2, 7-6 (1).
Recent U.S. Open semifinalist Matteo Berrettini of Italy scored a swift 6-2, 6-1 win over Jan-Lennard Struff of Germany. Berrettini’s now won 36 matches this season with 30 of those matches being played since April 22nd.
Both Americans seeing singles action on Tuesday came through with first-round victories.
Sixteenth seed John Isner topped Alex De Minaur of Australia 7-6 (1), 6-4 and Reilly Opelka posted a 6-3, 6-4 win over Dusan Lajovic of Serbia.
What’s On Tap For Wednesday
Drum Roll Please!
It’s that time of the year for defending champion and world No. 1 Novak Djokovic to commence the defence of his Rolex Shanghai Masters crown.
Djokovic arrived in Shanghai fresh off of winning the Tokyo title in his first appearance at that event. He’s in the hunt for a fifth title of the year, which includes victories at the Australian Open and Wimbledon.
Last year, Djokovic picked up his fourth Shanghai trophy with a victory over Coric, playing in his first Shanghai final.
Djokovic contends with left-handed Canadian Denis Shapovalov in his opener on Wednesday. Shapovalov booked his appointment against Djokovic by securing a 6-4, 6-2 win over American Frances Tiafoe.
Prior to this season, Shapovalov hadn’t encountered Djokovic in an official match. Now he’s already played him twice this year but has yet to pull off the upset.
For Shapovalov, this third meeting against the man known to fans as “Nole” presents another opportunity to do some damage.
Sixth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas, dashingly the Greek God of men’s tennis, will play his opening match against Felix Auger-Aliassime. The Canadian was leading qualifier Alexander Bublik 7-6 (5), 4-0 when Bublik retired from the encounter.
While Tsitsipas has quickly jumped into being an elite member of the top 10, Auger-Aliassime is working his way in that direction and is currently ranked No. 19.
The two have played each other twice in the pros with both encounters taking place this year. Auger-Aliassime came out the victor in straight sets in the Indian Wells second-round and Queen’s Club quarterfinals.
Fans will be wondering whether Tsitsipas can find the winning formula to beat Auger-Aliassime or whether the Canadian will keep his winning streak going.
Fourth seed Dominic Thiem of Austria takes on Spanish qualifier Pablo Carreno Busta and sixth seed Alexander Zverev of Germany makes his 2019 Shanghai debut against French qualifier Jeremy Chardy in the second round.