Shanghai: Novak Djokovic had won all 11 previous matches against Jeremy Chardy and the world No 3’s perfect run was never in real doubt at the Shanghai Masters on Tuesday. The Serbian, who has burst back to form this year, winning Wimbledon and the US Open, broke the Frenchman in the fifth game on the way to a 6-3 7-5 victory to ease into round three. The 31-year-old Djokovic had to contend with a more stubborn Chardy in the second set, before the second seed’s superior shot-making won through in 83 minutes. The 14-time Grand Slam champion missed six months of competition in 2017 and had elbow surgery at the start of this year. But he has surged back to form and fitness and now has his eye on Rafael Nadal’s No.1 ranking. The Spanish great is not in Shanghai — where he lost to Roger Federer in last year’s final — because of injury. Nikoloz Basilashvili showed that his China Open triumph at the weekend was no fluke as he brushed aside the promising Denis Shapovalov.
The Georgian, up to a career-high 23 in the world following his victory over Juan Martin del Potro in Beijing on Sunday, beat the teenage Canadian 6-2, 6-2 in just 57 minutes. The 26-year-old Basilashvili will now have another upset in his sights when he plays fourth seed Alexander Zverev at the Masters 1000 event on Wednesday. Basilashvili’s victory over an under-the-weather del Potro at the weekend was just his second ATP title, the first coming in Hamburg in July. Del Potro, the Shanghai third seed who was suffering with a cold and flu in Beijing, meets France’s Richard Gasquet. A press conference for the Argentine on Tuesday was cancelled at the last moment, however, which suggests that he could still be unwell.Top seed and holder Federer starts his campaign on Wednesday against Russia’s Daniil Medvedev. Federer warns Kyrgios Roger Federer warned temperamental Australian Nick Kyrgios on Tuesday that he would never fulfil his potential without the work ethic to go with his talent.
The 23-year-old Kyrgios made another contentious exit from the Shanghai Masters on Monday after a running argument with the chair umpire who suggested his efforts were “borderline”. The 38th-ranked Kyrgios was on the end of a surprise first-round loss to the American qualifier Bradley Klahn, the world number 104 winning 4-6, 6-4, 6-3. It is the third time in as many Shanghai appearances that Kyrgios has departed the Masters 1000 event under a cloud. Speaking in Shanghai, where Federer is the top seed and reigning champion, the 37-year-old Swiss great called Kyrgios “a great player”. But he also sounded a note of caution. “I think it’s really up to him where he wants to go and what his potential really holds,” said the 20-time Grand Slam winner.
“We don’t really know and I don’t think he really knows exactly what his potential is. “And only through understanding work ethic and scheduling and whatever it might be, creating the right team around himself, only then can you unlock the potential really.” Kyrgios, who this week lost his status as Australia’s number one to 33rd-ranked Alex de Minaur, has a chequered history in Shanghai. Last year he was fined after he walked off mid-way through his first-round match, and in 2016 he was suspended and fined after being accused of giving away points in another defeat. Federer, who admitted that the hard graft did not necessarily come naturally to him either, backed Kyrgios to “win bigger tournaments and do all these things”. “But there is still a process in place that he needs to do like any other player needs to go through in order to be successful,” he added. Sanghai is not the only scene of a Kyrgios controversy. At the recent US Open, a disinterested Kyrgios was given a controversial mid-match pep talk by an umpire as he drifted towards a second-round defeat. “I want to help you,” chair umpire Mohamed Lahyani told Kyrgios, who went on to capture 19 of the next 25 games and set up a clash against Federer in New York. Australian doubles great Todd Woodbridge said the scheduling of Shanghai, a compulsory tournament at the tail-end of the season, seemed to be a problem for Kyrgios.