Defending champion Roger Federer avoided a repeat of his second round exit in 2015 as he survived an opening scare at the Rolex Shanghai Masters on Wednesday fighting past the Tokyo champion Daniil Medvedev of Russia 6-4,4-6,6-4. Federer had 38 winners including 10 aces in the one hour fifty two minutes match which completed the line up for the last sixteen matches to be played on Thursday.
The two time champion Federer, who is the top seed in the absence of the world number one Rafael Nadal of Spain, had lost in the second round match in 2015 against the left handed Albert Ramos Vinolas after winning his first title in 2014 (beat Djokovic). After an early exchange of service breaks in the opening set, the Swiss maestro broke again in the ninth game before holding serve to take the opening set.
In the second set, Medvedev got the lone break in the tenth game to force the decider. Federer got the break in the ninth game before serving out the match to 15 in the tenth game. He next takes on the 2016 runner up Roberto Bautista Agut of Spain who rallied from s set down to beat the American qualifier Mackenzie McDonald 3-6,6-4,6-1.
Three time champion Novak Djokovic of Serbia, seeded second had a much easier 6-3,7-5 against Jeremy Chardy of France. Next up is the rising Italian Marco Cecchinato who upset the Serb in the French Open quarter final in Paris. The 16th seeded Cecchinato also had to come from a set down to beat the Korean Hyeon Chung 4-6,7-6(5),7-6(5).
In another eagerly anticipated match up, the fourth seeded Alexander Zverev of Germany beat the Beijing champion Nikoloz Basilashvili of Georgia 7-5,6-4. Zverev now takes on the Australian Alex de Minaur who ousted the French Davis Cup player Benoit Paire 6-4,6-3.
The third seeded Juan Martin Del Potro who lost in the final in Beijing on Sunday, battled for one hour and fifty minutes to beat another Frenchman Richard Gasquet 7-5,7-6(7), saving three set points in the second set tie-break. The Argentine faces the Croat Borna Coric who was a 6-4,6-2 winner against the American qualifier Bradley Kahn.
The seventh seeded Kevin Anderson of South Africa beat the qualifier Mikhail Kukushkin of Kazakhstan 6-3,6-2 and now plays Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece who beat fellow GenNext star Karen Khachanov of Russia 6-4,7-6(8).
Sam Querrey is the only American left in the field after beating compatriot Taylor Fritz 6-3,6-7(4),7-5. He meets the London hopefull Kei Nishikori who came from a set down to end Chinese hopes as he won 3-6,6-0,6-3 against Yibing Wu. There was major disappointment for two other London bound contenders as Marin Cilic of Croatia blew two match points against the Chilean Nicolas Jarry as he lost 6-2,6-7(6),5-7.
The 22 year old Chilean plays Kyle Edmund of Britain, a 6-3,6-4 winner over the Italian Andreas Seppi. The Austrian Dominic Thiem continued his miserable run in Shanghai as he lost to the Australian Matthew Ebden 4-6,7-6(8),6-7(4). Ebden failed to serve out the match in the twelveth game of the decider but came through against Thiem, who is eighth in the race for London. He plays another German Peter Gojowczyk who beat Marton Fucsovics of Hungary 6-4,6-7(3),7-6(5).
The following is the last sixteen line up with my pick mentioned first:-
Roger Federer (2) v. Roberto Bautista Agut (-)
Sam Querrey (-) v. Kei Nishikori (8)
Borna Coric (13) v. Juan Martin Del Potro (3)
Matthew Ebden (-) v. Peter Gojowczyk (-)
Nicolas Jarry (-) v. Kyle Edmund (11)
Alexander Zverev (4) v. Alex de Minaur (-)
Kevin Anderson (7) v. Stefanos Tsitsipas (10)
Novak Djokovic (2) v. Marco Cecchinato (16)
– Rasesh Mehta [Rasesh Mehta is an analyst with the Tennis Galaxy. You can reach him at the email: sportzcosmos@]