SHANGHAI: Controversial Australian Nick Kyrgios swept aside Andreas Haider-Maurer in straight sets on Monday to set up a second round clash with Japan’s Kei Nishikori in the Shanghai Masters.
The outspoken Australian, who fired 13 aces and saved all five break points in a 6-3, 6-2 win over his Austrian opponent, had no illusions about the task ahead. “Kei’s one of the best players in the world right now,” said Kyrgios. “He’s got unbelievable returns. He’s a great athlete. He’s playing well. So I know what I have to do.”
Slovak Martin Klizan beat local favourite Zhang Ze 7-6 (10/8), 6-2 and now faces top seed Novak Djokovic, who is gunning for his ninth title of the year.
Croatia’s Ivo Karlovic, who prevailed 6-4, 7-6 (8/6) over Frenchman Jeremy Chardy, also faces a formidable second round opponent in 2009 runner-up Rafael Nadal, who lost to Djokovic in Sunday’s China Open final.
Read: Warne tells Kyrgios 'you're testing our patience mate'
Can anyone master Djokovic in Shanghai?
Djokovic is no stranger to success at Shanghai’s Qi Zhong Stadium, after claiming two Masters titles and the 2008 Tennis Masters Cup at the large venue on the city’s outskirts.
After a breathtaking China Open, when he lost only 18 games and extended his record to 9-0 in Chinese finals, Djokovic had no doubts about maintaining his level this week.
“It’s not the first time I’m playing back-to-back weeks,” said the 10-time Grand Slam winner. “Shanghai is going to be even stronger [than China Open] because obviously all the best players in the world are there.”
Read: Djokovic makes light work of Nadal to win China Open
Defending champion and second seed Roger Federer preferred not to dwell on a potential final against Djokovic, as he sizes up his half of the draw which includes Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Kei Nishikori and Stanislas Wawrinka.
“I don’t think that far ahead, to be quite honest,” said the Swiss.
Britain’s Andy Murray is returning from nearly a four-week break as he heads into a busy season’s end which will culminate in next month’s Davis Cup final against Belgium.
Meanwhile, Nadal will hope to shake off a right foot injury which slowed him in the Beijing final as he bids to recapture the sort of form which could trouble Djokovic.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 13th, 2015.
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