Grigor Dimitrov took down Juan Martin del Potro for the third straight time Wednesday in Beijing, dispatching the former US Open champion 7-6(6), 7-5.
“Very pleased that I was able to finish in straight sets. DelPo is an absolutely unbelievable competitor,” said Dimitrov. “Every time we play it’s absolutely stunning. He’s a great guy. I love practising with him. I love competing against him.”
Dimitrov was 0-5 against the Argentine but has now won three straight and his last six sets against del Potro.
“I really needed that match,” Dimitrov said. “I just had to find a way today. I fought really hard, lowered my expectations, stayed positive.
“He’s the kind of competitor who can beat anybody,” he added. “There’s not going to be any freebies against him. So I had to work, work and only work today. That was it. I didn’t think I played my best tennis but it feels awesome to win on days like that.”
Nick Kyrgios advanced with a three set 3-6, 6-2, 6-2 comeback win over Mischa Zverev. A year ago Kyrgios infamously tanked against Zverev in Shanghai. Today, a much better performance.
“Obviously didn’t have a great one last year,” Kyrgios said. “Obviously got suspended after that. I just wanted to go out there today and kind of redeem myself a little bit from last year. I just wanted to prove to myself how much I have improved.
“I knew it was going to be tough. He plays a very old-school type of tennis, likes to come forward a lot. I knew it was going to be tough.
“I got broken early in the first. Then I kind of knew I had to loosen up and find my rhythm a little bit. I started serving much better, started just relaxing. I knew I was going to feel pretty comfortable at some stage out there. Obviously just really happy to get through.”
Steve Darcis and Roberto Bautista Agut also were winners.
Top seed and World No. 1 Rafael Nadal returns on Thursday to take on Russian 21-year-old Karen Khachanov. Nadal beat Khachanov in three sets at Wimbledon this year. Nadal has won his last eight matches but the 2005 Beijing champion had to save two match points in a win over Lucas Pouille on Tuesday.
Khachanov’s countryman Andrei Rublev faces Tomas Berdych and Alexander Zverev faces Fabio Fognini.
THURSDAY BEIJING SCHEDULE
NATIONAL TENNIS STADIUM start 12:30 pm
WTA – S. Cirstea (ROU) vs  Ka. Pliskova (CZE)
WTA – S. Peng (CHN) vs  J. Ostapenko (LAT)
Not Before 4:30 pm
ATP –  R. Nadal (ESP) vs K. Khachanov (RUS)
Not Before 7:30 pm
WTA –  P. Kvitova (CZE) vs  C. Wozniacki (DEN)
Not Before 9:00 pm
ATP – F. Fognini (ITA) vs  A. Zverev (GER)
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