Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray are on course to meet in the finals of the eighth ATP 1000 event of the year in Shanghai, as both had comfortable passage into the last eight on Thursday with straight sets wins over Canada’s Vasek Pospisil and the Frenchman Lucas Pouille respectively. The U.S. Open champion Stanislas Wawrinka and Canada’s Milos Raonic, who have both qualified for the season ending finale in London, suffered shock defeats.
The defending champion Djokovic who has won the title in 2012, 2013 and 2015 had a routine 6-4, 6-4 win over Canada’s Vasek Pospisil, while the second seed Murray, winner in 2010 and 2011 easily put out the fast rising Frenchman Lucas Pouille, losing just 4 games 6-1, 6-3.
There were mixed results for France as the 2014 finalist Giles Simon upset the third seeded Stanislas Wawrinka 6-4, 6-4, while the sixth seeded Gael Monfils lost in three sets to the Belgian David Goffin 6-4, 4-6, 2-6. Jo Wilfred Tsonga made it two Frenchmen in the last four with a 6-7(4), 6-2, 7-5 win over German teenager Alexander Zverev in two hours and twenty six minutes in the most eagerly awaited match of the day.
Jack Sock, the lone American left in the draw overcame a disastrous first set loss to beat the fifth ranked Raonic 0-6, 6-4, 7-6(8) saving two match points in the process. Raonic won all 12 first serve points in the first set but had to save a break point, while converting three out of six break point opportunities. The next 2 sets were tightly contested with Sock edging out the Canadian in both the sets to take the match.
Roberto Bautista Agut ended the run of Serbia’s Victor Troicki with a surprisingly easy 6-3, 6-3 win in just 74 minutes. The Serb, who had served a doping ban couple of years ago, had upset the Spaniard Rafael Nadal in the second round.
There was better news for Germany as the qualifier Mischa Zverev beat the Spanish doubles specialist Marcel Granollers 6-7(4), 6-4, 6-1 in two hours and eight minutes. The 110th ranked Zverev had come through the qualifying stages in Shanghai to claim a place in the main draw.
The following is the quarter final line up with my pick mentioned first:-
Novak Djokovic (1) v. Mischa Zverev (-); Djokovic leads 1-0
Jo Wilfred Tsonga (9) v. Roberto Bautista Agut (15); Tied at 2-2
Giles Simon v. Jack Sock; Tied at 1-1
Andy Murray (2) v. David Goffin (11); Murray leads 4-0
Good results for Tsonga or Goffin could go a long way towards deciding the three remaining places at the World Tour Final. The tenth ranked Goffin could jump to seventh in the race to London should he go all the way, while Tsonga who is currently 15th in the race would leapfrog to as high as ninth in the rankings should he win his second career Masters 1000 event. The 31 year old Tsonga won his only Masters title in Toronto in 2014 beating Roger Federer in the final.
– Rasesh Mehta [Rasesh Mehta is an analyst with the Tennis Galaxy. You can reach him at the email: firstname.lastname@example.org]