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Impressive Djokovic gets revenge to make Shanghai quarter

By AFP - Oct 11,2018 - Last updated at Oct 11,2018

Novak Djokovic of Serbia celebrates after defeating Marco Cecchinato of Italy in their men’s singles third round match at the Shanghai Masters tournament on Thursday (AFP photo by Johannes Eisele)

SHANGHAI — Novak Djokovic enjoyed a measure of revenge as he booked his spot in the Shanghai Masters quarter-finals with a 6-4, 6-0 demolition of Marco Cecchinato on Thursday.

The Serbian second seed was stunned by the Italian — ranked 72 in the world at the time — in the French Open quarter-finals earlier this year.

It was part of the wretched run of form Djokovic suffered in the first half of the year after elbow surgery in February.

But the World No. 3 exploded back to life in the northern hemisphere summer, winning Wimbledon, the Cincinnati Masters and US Open.

The 31-year-old, who is now gunning for Rafael Nadal’s No. 1 ranking, says he is back close to the kind of blistering form that has brought him 14 Grand Slams.

And he proved it against Cecchinato, bustling past the 16th seed in just under 70 minutes.

Djokovic will play South Africa’s Kevin Anderson in the quarter-finals.

Rising star Alexander Zverev was similarly emphatic as he brushed aside Australia’s new No. 1, teenager Alex de Minaur, 6-1, 6-4.

The German fourth seed will face 11th seed Kyle Edmund in the last eight.

Edmund, Britain’s No. 1, defeated Chile’s Nicolas Jarry 7-6 (7/5), 6-3. 

The 21-year-old Zverev was ruthless as he took the first set in just 29 minutes, although his 19-year-old opponent showed more fight in the second.

Zverev has been suffering with a cold but ratcheted up the pressure to grab the all-important break of serve in the ninth game before closing out the match against de Minaur, who this week replaced Nick Kyrgios as Australia’s top-ranked player.

Twice Shanghai Masters champion Roger Federer was far from his best against Spain's Roberto Bautista Agut but did enough to reach the quarter-finals with a 6-3, 2-6, 6-4 win on Thursday.

The top-seeded Swiss, who is fighting to defend the title and his world number two spot, broke in the fourth game and sealed the opening set with a crisp backhand volley.

But Bautista Agut, the 2016 finalist, was back on song in the second set and won four straight games before forcing a decider courtesy a stunning backhand return.

Having lost a set for the first time in eight meetings with Bautista Agut, Federer cut down his errors before breaking in the ninth game en route to his 38th match win of the season.

In the last four the 37-year-old will face eighth-seeded Japanese Kei Nishikori, who knocked out big-serving American Sam Querrey 7-6(7), 6-4.

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Thursday 18 October 2018

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