Djokovic wins 13th straight match to open Shanghai Masters; Nadal, Nishikori also advance
Novak Djokovic extended his winning streak to 13 straight matches with a swift 6-2, 6-1 win over Martin Klizan in the second round of the Shanghai Masters on Wednesday.
Rafael Nadal also advanced to the third round, although in far more difficult fashion. The eighth-seeded Spanish player escaped with a 7-5, 6-7 (4), 7-6 (4) win over Ivo Karlovic of Croatia in two hours, 43 minutes.
Djokovic is coming off his sixth China Open title last week, where he only lost 18 games in the entire tournament — the most dominant title run of his career.
He picked up right where he left off in Shanghai, fending off the only break point he faced against Klizan to win in 63 minutes.
Djokovic is aiming for his ninth title of the year and his third at the Shanghai Masters.
"Considering the fact that I’ve won so many matches this year and tournaments, probably the best season of my life definitely, anywhere I go I’m confident," he said. "Especially towards the end of the season, knowing that back in the previous years I’ve played consistently well and was very successful in the last couple months of the season."
Nadal, by comparison, is struggling through one of the most challenging years of his career. He hasn’t won a Grand Slam title for the first time since 2004 and his ranking has dipped to No. 7.
He’s also coming off a rather one-sided defeat to Djokovic in the China Open final on Sunday, prior to which Nadal admitted that his Serbian rival was "not in my league" at the moment.
Still, Nadal sounded upbeat after maintaining his composure against the heavy-serving Karlovic, who had 24 aces, and securing a close victory.
"To win 7-6 in the third is very important victory for me, especially because I believe in the last tiebreak I did not lose one point with my serve," he said. "That’s because I was on self -control again of my emotions. That’s the most important thing for me today."
Nadal faces another big server, Milos Raonic, in the third round on Thursday, while Djokovic plays 15th-seeded Feliciano Lopez of Spain.
In other matches, Kei Nishikori overcame a stiff challenge from an emotional Nick Kyrgios to advance with a 1-6, 6-4, 6-4 victory.
After winning the first set in 30 minutes, Kyrgios began to unravel at the end of the second set when he smacked a ball in frustration toward the baseline, causing a line judge to bend to avoid being hit.
The Australian was assessed a code violation and dropped his serve at love, losing the set. Kyrgios then saved three match points in the third set before Nishikori finally closed it out.
Kyrgios was already fined $1,500 for an "audible obscenity" in his first-round match in Shanghai. He faces a 28-day suspension from the ATP tour if he reaches $5,000 in fines before February after being placed on probation for making derogatory comments to Stan Wawrinka during a match in Montreal in August.
"I didn’t think I behaved bad at all out there today," Kyrgios said after Wednesday’s loss. "I thought I was good mentally. I showed emotion, but at the same time I played great."
Nishikori said he tried to be more patient after struggling with his serve early in the match, winning just one point on his second serve in the opening set.
"I didn’t have the best start this match," he said. "My serve wasn’t going in, especially in the beginning. I had three double faults in first game."
In other matches, Andy Murray overcame five double faults to defeat Steve Johnson of the United States 6-2, 6-4, and Australia’s Bernard Tomic saved eight of nine break points he faced to upset seventh-seeded David Ferrer of Spain 6-4, 6-2.
Tomic said he’s feeling increasingly more confident than he was at the start of the year when his ranking dipped into the 70s. He reached No. 20 last month and is aiming to finish close to the top 15 by the end of the season.
"This is my best year," he said. "I’m working much harder. I’m a bit smarter and wiser."
Also, fourth-seeded Wawrinka defeated Viktor Troicki of Serbia 7-6 (3), 6-3; fifth-seeded Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic outlasted Jack Sock 7-6 (3), 4-6, 6-4; No. 13-seeded John Isner of the United States defeated Belgium’s David Goffin 6-3, 7-6 (5); and No. 12 Kevin Anderson beat Fabio Fognini 6-3, 7-6 (1).