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Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 October 2018

Shanghai Masters: Novak Djokovic marches into third round as Marin Cilic and Dominic Thiem suffer shock defeats

Serbian second seed too strong for Frenchman Chardy and will face either Chung or Cecchinato next

Novak Djokovic faced few problems against Jeremy Chardy at the Shanghai Masters. Reuters
Novak Djokovic faced few problems against Jeremy Chardy at the Shanghai Masters. Reuters

Novak Djokovic made an efficient start to his Shanghai Masters campaign on Tuesday with a 6-3, 7-5 second round win over Frenchman Jeremy Chardy.

The Serbian second seed - handed a first round bye - was too strong for world No 41 Chardy, facing no break points on serve en route to victory in one hour and 23 minutes.

World No 3 Djokovic, who will replace Roger Federer as the world No 2 if he reaches the final in Shanghai, twice broke the Chardy serve in the first set to take control of the match.

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The Frenchman provided a stiffer challenge in the second set, and Djokovic had to wait until the 12th game for his first break point opportunities. However, the 14-time grand slam champion only needed two, clinching the match when Chardy sent a forehand long.

Djokovic will have the chance to exact a measure of revenge against either of his potential third round opponents after Italian Marco Cecchinato takes on South Korea’s Hyeon Chung on Wednesday.

Cecchinato defeated Djokovic in the French Open quarter-finals in June, while Chung produced a straight sets win over the 31-year-old Serbian at the Australian Open in January.

Times have certainly changed for Djokovic since the surprise loss at Roland Garros, with the Serbian embarking on a devastating run of form that saw him win successive grand slams at Wimbledon and the US Open, as well as becoming the first player to win all nine Masters 1000 events when he clinched the Cincinnati title.

“I didn’t win too many matches the beginning of the year,” said Djokovic, who is a three-time champion in Shanghai, winning the title in 2012, 2013 and 2015.

“After the surgery I was not managing to play my best, and that has changed, so obviously the more you win, the more comfortable and more confident you feel on the court.

“I think I’m a completely different player than I was in the first five, six months of the year. Hopefully the outcome can be different as well.”

Elsewhere, world No 7 Dominic Thiem’s bid to qualify for the next month’s ATP Finals suffered a blow as he was edged out 6-4 6-7, 7-6, by Australian world No 51 Matthew Ebden.

Thiem, who also received a first-round bye, struggled to find his rhythm in a tightly contested encounter which lasted two hours and 45 minutes.

World No 6 Marin Cilic also harmed his chances of qualifying for the ATP Finals in a shock 2-6, 7-6, 7-5 defeat to Nicolas Jarry, the world No 48 from Chile.

Nikoloz Basilashvili, who lifted the Beijing title on Sunday, extended his winning streak to six matches by beating Canadian Denis Shapovalov 6-2 6-2 in just under an hour.

The 26-year-old Georgian will meet fourth-seeded German Alexander Zverev in the second round.