Djokovic kicks off Shanghai title defense with win over Shapovalov

Djokovic kicks off Shanghai title defense with win over Shapovalov

The defending champion defeated the young Canadian, 6-3, 6-3, to extend their head-to-head series to 3-0.

On the heels of his Tokyo victory, Novak Djokovic picked up where he left off to cruise past Denis Shapovalov, 6-3, 6-3 in the Shanghai second round on Wednesday. He now leads the young Canadian 3-0.

“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.

Djokovic is going for his fifth Rolex Shanghai Masters title, his 34th Masters 1000 career title—Rafael Nadal leads the all-time list with 35.

In the early goings on Wednesday, both players went toe-to-toe before Djokovic pulled away to take the first set, 6-3, after securing a break in the eighth game. Never threatened on his serve, the defending champion dropped just one service point en route.

Getty Images

Shapovalov got his first look at a break point in the opening game of the second set but Djokovic was able to fend him off. In the fifth game, the top seed found his opening and made good use of it to go up 3-2. Four games later, he crossed the finish line to claim the match in straight sets. He has now won 12 consecutive sets in Shanghai.

“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," said Djokovic. “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.”

On Tuesday, Djokovic joined forces with compatriot Filip Krajinovic to defeat fifth-seeded duo Kevin Krawietz and Andreas Mies, 6-3, 3-6, [10-3], in the doubles opening round. They will next play Jamie Murray and Neal Skupski, who triumphed over Chinese wild cards Xin Gao and Zhe Li, 6-3, 6-4.

For a spot in the quarterfinals, Djokovic will square off against John Isner. The 16th seed defeated Lucas Pouille, 7-5, 6-3. Djokovic has a 9-2 record against Isner, all wins on hard court. He hasn’t lost to the 34-year-old American since falling in their 2013 Cincinnati quarterfinal encounter. It will be their first meeting this season.