France’s Richard Gasquet rediscovered the winning formula yesterday after last week’s shock defeat to a Chinese wild card, cruising into the second round of the Shanghai Masters alongside Croatia’s Marin Cilic.
Gasquet crashed to a humiliating loss at the China Open when Zhang Ze closed a rankings gap of 151 places to beat him, just days after the Frenchman won the Thailand Open by beating compatriot Gilles Simon in the final, but the 26-year-old, seeded 11th in Shanghai, made sure there was no repeat on the second day of action in Shanghai, winning four out of five break points to dispatch journeyman Brian Baker of the US 6-2, 6-3.
Tenth seed Cilic, who stands 1.98m tall, joined him in the second round with a 7-5, 6-3 victory over Lukasz Kubot, hitting eight aces and breaking his Polish opponent four times.
Sam Querrey of the US fired 11 aces in a 6-3, 6-1 victory over Chinese wild-card Zhe Li.
“I feel like I’m playing better now than a year and a half ago when I was ranked No. 17,” said Querrey, now ranked 26th. “I’m more confident. Felt good out there today. It was fun to play in that stadium. I thought I served great. I thought I returned well and I took advantage of the break points. That was the key.”
Grigor Dimitrov of
Bulgaria set up a clash with Novak Djokovic by beating Pablo Andujar of Spain 7-5, 6-3, but he faces a daunting task against the second seed, fresh from his victory at the China Open and aiming to displace Roger Federer at the top of the rankings.
Frenchman Benoit Paire defeated German qualifier Philipp Petzschner 7-6 (7/2), 6-4 to set up a second-round meeting with compatriot Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, the fifth seed.
The world No. 1 ranking is on the line at the Shanghai Masters.
Switzerland’s Federer can guarantee he remains the top-ranked player by reaching the quarter-finals, but anything less and Djokovic would overtake the Swiss by winning the title.
Federer is beginning his 299th week as world No. 1, having usurped Djokovic at the top of the leaderboard after winning his 17th Grand Slam title at Wimbledon.
Apart from Federer and Djokovic, the top two seeds in Shanghai, the other main drawcard is US Open champion Andy Murray. The top eight seeds get a bye into the second round.
There were also wins yesterday for Spain’s Tommy Robredo and Kevin Anderson of South Africa.
In the late match, Germany’s Tommy Haas defeated Nicolas Almagro of Spain 4-6, 7-6 (7/4), 6-2.
Additional reporting by staff writer