Defending champion Novak Djokovic and second seeded Andy Murray, the only two players in the race for the year ending number one ranking have won their second round matches at the ATP 1000 event in Shanghai. Not surprisingly Rafael Nadal has been bundled out after a 3-6, 6-7(3) loss against Djokovic’s Serbian compatriot Victor Troicki.
The world number one Djokovic, who leads the race by 1,555 points clear of Murray, began his campaign with a 6-3, 6-3 win over the Italian Fabio Fognini, while the Beijing champion Andy Murray was equally impressive in his 6-3, 6-2 win over the American Steve Johnson. Also advancing were the U.S. Open champion Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland beat the Britain’s Kyle Edmund, 6-3, 6-4 and Milos Raonic, who has already booked a berth in the season ending finale in London, had a 6-2, 6-4 win over another Italian Paolo Lorenzi.
Rafael Nadal, who is seventh in the race, suffered a setback to his bid as he fell to the unseeded Troicki in straight sets. Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic and the Croat Marin Cilic who are still hoping to clinch one of the three remaining places at London also suffered shock losses to the Spaniard Marcel Granollers and the German teenager Alexander Zverev.
Also losing were the Australian Nick Kyrgios, last week’s winner of the ATP 500 event in Tokyo, and the Beijing runner up Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria. They lost to the German Mischa Zverev and Canada’s Vasek Pospisil in straight sets respectively.
Meanwhile the French trio of Gael Monfils, Jo Wilfred Tsonga and Lucas Pouille kept alive their hopes of qualifying, as did Belgium’s David Goffin. Monfils beat the South African Kevin Anderson, Tsonga ousted another Serb Janko Tipsarevic, Goffin prevailed over the tall Frenchman Benoit Paire, while the fast rising Pouille was also a straight sets winner over the Spaniard Nicolas Almagro.
Another Frenchman to advance was the 2014 finalist Giles Simon who beat the local hope Di Wu 6-2, 6-2. The only Spaniard left in the draw is the fifteenth seeded Roberto Bautista Agut who beat the American teenager Taylor Fritz 6-4, 6-4, however Jack Sock ensured an American win after advancing with a hard fought three set win over the left handed Spaniard Feliciano Lopez.
Earlier on Tuesday, the Argentine Juan Martin Del Potro who is on a comeback trail after missing the last two editions in Shanghai fell narrowly to the Belgian David Goffin 6-4, 3-6, 5-7 in two hours and eighteen minutes. Del Potro will play at the IF Stockholm Open next week as he hopes to lead Argentina to their maiden Davis Cup win when they play Croatia in Zagreb on November 25-27.
The following is the line up for the round of 16 with my pick mentioned first :-
Novak Djokovic (1) v. Vasek Pospisil
Marcel Granollers v. Mischa Zverev
Victor Troicki v. Roberto Bautista Agut (15)
Jo Wilfred Tsonga (9) v. Alexander Zverev
Milos Raonic (5) v. Jack Sock
Stanislas Wawrinka (3) v. Gilles Simon
David Goffin (11) v. Gael Monfils (6)
Andy Murray (2) v. Lucas Pouille
– Rasesh Mehta [Rasesh Mehta is an analyst with the Tennis Galaxy. You can reach him at the email: email@example.com]