Juan Martin del Potro survived a testing first round encounter with Nikoloz Basilashvili 6-2 3-6 6-4 at the Rolex Shanghai Masters

del Potro survives scare



Originally published on 09/10/17 00:00

The Argentinian was unconvincing for much of the contest however he was composed under pressure and his superior quality shone through in the latter stages of the third set.

Del Potro, who lost to Grigor Dimitrov in the second round of the China Open last week, made a bright start to proceedings as his opponent struggled to find his range. Without complications, the former finalist took the opening set by six games to two.

A routine victory appeared to be on the cards for del Potro but he suffered a second set dip. He hit just one winner as his opponent, encouraged by his rival’s slump, levelled the score and took the match the distance.

There was little to choose between the pair in the decider but it looked like it would be the unfancied Georgian who would be first to secure a pivotal breakthrough. In the ninth game, Basilashvili created five break-point opportunities however his resilient opponent held off his advances.

Basilashvili was, perhaps unsurprisingly, punished for his inability to convert his chances. Serving to stay in the match, the qualifier, noticeably nervous, stumbled and a loose forehand cost him his place in the competition.

Del Potro will face Andrey Rublev next. The talented Russian dismissed Damir Dzumhur 6-1 4-6 6-1 in a topsy-turvy encounter.

Elsewhere on the grounds, Kyle Edmund bounced back from a first round exit in Beijing by commencing his Shanghai campaign with an impressive 6-3 6-2 win over Jiri Vesely in just 65 minutes.

The British No.2 slipped behind early but he quickly steadied the ship and was soon dictating play with his cogent forehand. He will hope to produce a similar performance against Marin Cilic in the second round on Tuesday.

Hyeon Chung equalled the best result of his career by taking out last year’s finalist and No.9 seed, Roberto Bautista Agut, 6-4 6-3. The 21-year-old, keen to qualify for the inaugural Next Gen ATP Finals in Milan next month, was rarely troubled by his Spanish opponent and he will challenge Richard Gasquet next – who overcame Robin Haase 6-7(11) 7-5 6-2.

Feliciano Lopez edged a tight affair with Ivo Karlovic in two tiebreak sets, Frances Tiafoe took out Benoit Paire 6-4 6-4, Albert Ramos-Vinolas squeezed past Joao Sousa 3-6 6-3 7-5 and Stefanos Tsitsipas netted his first ATP-level win of the season – at the eighth attempt – by defeating Karen Khachanov 7-5 6-3.


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