Novak Djokovic opened his bid for a fourth Shanghai Masters title with a 6-3, 7-5 victory Tuesday over Jeremy Chardy.
The US Open champion has now won all 12 matches against the Frenchman, and has taken his last 14 matches and 23 of his last 24.
“I think I’m completely different player than I was in first, five, six months of the year,” Djokovic said of his 6-6 start to the year. “Hopefully the outcome can be different, as well.
“I’m very grateful to play on a high level. 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.”
Djokovic, who is also trying to chase down Rafael Nadal this fall for the No. 1 ranking, will next meet either Marco Cecchinato or Hyeon Chung, two players who beat the Serb this year in Grand Slam play.
While Djokovic was a winner, 2017 semifinalist and No. 5 seed Marin Cilic fell upset to Chilean Nicolas Jarry 2-6, 7-6(6), 7-5. The Croatian served for the match in the second and had a total of two match points in the second. He also served for the match in the third at 5-4.
No. 6 seed Dominic Thiem also crashed out falling to Matt Ebden 6-4, 6-7(8), 7-6(4) who saved two match points. The Austrian falls to just 2-4 at the Shanghai event.
After his win over Stan Wawrinka, Borna Coric rolled into the third round beating American qualifier Bradley Klahn.
Weekend winners Nikolaz Basilishvili and Daniil Medvedev stayed hot. Tokyo champ Basilishvili ousted Denis Shapovalov and Medvedev, who won Beijing, needed a final set breaker to beat home wildcard Zhang Ze.
Medvedev now will face Roger Federer on Wednesday while Basilashvili battles Alexander Zverev. Also tomorrow, Juan Martin del Potro faces Richard Gasquet and Kei Nishikori is also on court.
“I like this part of the season,” said the defending champion Federer. “It’s always been a good [swing] for me. Maybe conditions get faster, I’m not sure… It’s helpful I have a home tournament and the ATP Finals. I have been very successful, so clearly I hope for something similar again this year.”
WEDNESDAY SHANGHAI SCHEDULE
CENTER Starts At 1:00 Pm
Nikoloz Basilashvili v 4 Alexander Zverev
3 Juan Martin del Potro v Richard Gasquet
Not Before 6:00 Pm
(WC) Yibing Wu v 8 Kei Nishikori
1 Roger Federer v Daniil Medvedev
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