Magical Djokovic casts spell over Shanghai

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Novak Djokovic of Serbia hits a return against Feliciano Lopez of Spain in their men’s singles third round match at the Shanghai Masters tennis tournament in Shanghai on Thursday. AFP PHOTO

Novak Djokovic of Serbia hits a return against Feliciano Lopez of Spain in their men’s singles third round match at the Shanghai Masters tennis tournament in Shanghai on Thursday. AFP PHOTO

SHANGHAI: World no.1 Novak Djokovic sped into the Shanghai Masters quarterfinals with a 6-2, 6-3 win over Feliciano Lopez in just 71 minutes as he continued his magical run in China on Thursday.

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As Andy Murray and Jo-Wilfriend Tsonga toiled, the unstoppable Serb dominated Spain’s Lopez as he brought up his 14th win in a row including an unbroken sequence of 16 straight sets.

Rafael Nadal’s recent resurgence, meanwhile, gathered pace when he beat Milos Raonic 6-3, 7-6 (7/6) to set up a quarterfinals duel with Kevin Anderson, who ousted Japan’s Kei Nishikori 7-6 (12/10), 7-6 (7/3).

Tomas Berdych dispatched Gilles Simon 6-3, 6-3, and French Open champion Stan Wawrinka won an almighty tussle with Marin Cilic 7-5, 6-7 (7/9), 6-4.

Djokovic had no such trouble against Lopez, break¬ing for 3-1 in the second set with a magical backhand lob as he remained in the form that took him to his sixth China Open title last week.

“There is no secret. I guess it depends how do you feel on a given day, depends how well your opponent is playing, how well you’re playing. It’s a combination of things,” said the two-time Shanghai champion.

Djokovic’s current unbeaten run dates back to the Cincinnati Masters finals in August and with his win in Beijing, he became the first man to top $15 million (13.1 million euros) in prize money in a single year.

He said there was still room for improvement despite putting together what he calls his best season yet, after winning three out of four Grand Slam finals to reach a career total of 10.

Earlier Andy Murray squeezed past John Isner and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga was also pushed all the way before ending the giant-killing run of Spanish qualifier Albert Ramos-Vinolas.

Murray lost the first set on a tiebreak and he snapped at the umpire as his frustrations rose in the second set, before he finally broke the big-serving Isner and levelled the match at a set each.

The world no.2 broke again for 4-3 in the decider and he left the American number one on his backside as he fended off break points in his next service game, before going on to take it 6-7 (4/7), 6-4, 6-4.

“Obviously it’s tough to maintain your patience and not get a bit frustrated when you do get the chances and, you know, he serves an ace,” Murray said.

Seventieth-ranked Ramos-Vinolas came through qualifying before he stunned defending champion Roger Federer in the second round — but Tsonga proved a match too far.

However, the 27-year-old Spaniard gave the mercurial Frenchman a massive scare when he took the first set before going down fighting 6-7 (5/7), 7-5, 6-4 in two hours and 45 minutes.

AFP

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