Read & Watch: Djokovic Stays Unbeaten Against Shapo
Novak Djokovic began his title defence at the Rolex Shanghai Masters by pushing his set winning streak in Asia to 22 on Wednesday. The World No. 1 and top seed rolled past #NextGenATP Canadian Denis Shapovalov 6-3, 6-3 at the ATP Masters 1000 event.
“It's nice to be back. And also, it feels very good to play as well as I did today,” Djokovic said. “I knew that Denis is very dangerous player. If he has time, if he's feeling the ball well, it can be a tough match.
“He was serving really well, high percentage also first serves, and just really difficult to return in the first set, so it took me a little bit of time to really adjust, start reading his serve a little bit better.
“But I thought I served really well. I used angles. I was very solid from back of the court. I had no problems with the shoulder pain... So no concerns there. Everything is feeling and looking good.”
The pressure was amplified in the second, and a loose service game from Shapovalov at 2-2 all but sealed it for the 33-time Masters 1000 titlist. Djokovic won all 10 sets he played last year in Shanghai and did the same last week when he won the Rakuten Japan Open Tennis Championships in Tokyo.
“Because of the history that I had in this tournament and in general in the Asian Swing and lots of success and lots of matches won in my career, I actually feel less pressure because I'm more confident that I can perform at my best,” Djokovic said.
The Serbian will face 16th seed John Isner for a place in the quarter-finals. Isner hit 19 aces and never faced a break point during a 7-5, 6-3 dismissal of Australian Open semi-finalist Lucas Pouille.
Djokovic is looking to make up ground in the battle for year-end No. 1 against Spain's Rafael Nadal in Shanghai. The Serbian added 90 points with the second-round win to push his ATP Race To London tally to 7,855. But he still trails Nadal (9,225 points), who is recovering from a left hand injury, by 1,370 points.