Novak Djokovic’s bid for a fifth Shanghai Masters title continued with an impressive 6-3 6-3 victory over Denis Shapovalov on Wednesday.
The reigning champion set up a last-16 clash with John Isner following a commanding display during which he dropped just one point on serve in the first set.
Shapovalov, ranked 36th in the world, had to fend off two break points in his opening service game as Djokovic sought to impose his authority early on.
It took until the eighth game for the 16-time grand slam champion to underline his superiority, Shapovalov’s backhand clipping the net and going wide on break point to leave Djokovic serving for the set.
Having completed that task with the minimum of fuss – holding to love for the fourth time in five games – the Serbian was promptly met with sterner resistance in the second set.
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Shapovalov emerged livelier and more aggressive, forcing the issue and being rewarded for his efforts with a break-point opening after darting to the net to swing a long rally in his favour.
But Djokovic remained resolute, maintaining a high first-serve percentage to tip the balance back in his favour and winning game point with a deft drop shot.
And it was the world number one who struck what proved to be the telling blow in the fifth game, Shapovalov getting a first-hand look at what a world-class returner can do against even his most powerful serves.
Time and again Djokovic had the answer to whatever his rival could fire down and that pressure told as the top seed broke and consolidated for a 4-2 lead.
Djokovic hastened the end of the contest following a couple of brilliant winners and an unforced error from Shapovalov, who – serving to stay in the match – was simply outclassed.