Player-of-the-year honours are still to be decided between the quartet that split the season’s four major singles titles, but the consistency award is Novak Djokovic’s to lose. In just one tournament has the world No.2 failed to reach at least the semi-final stage, and he is now one match away from extending that record in Shanghai.
Djokovic hit 12 aces, won 93 per cent of points on his first serve and did not face a break point in last night’s 6-3, 6-3 third-round domination of Spanish veteran Feliciano Lopez at the Shanghai Rolex Masters, in a worthy sequel to Wednesday’s fine serving display against Grigor Dmitrov.
“I’m trying to enjoy the efficiency of my serve,” said Djokovic, who won the China Open on Sunday in his first event since losing the US Open final to Andy Murray. “I’m not very well known around the tour for big serving. But so far in this tournament, and also in Beijing, it has been working very well for me. It has been giving me a lot of free points, a lot of confidence into the matches.”
Having relinquished the No.1 ranking to Roger Federer after Wimbledon, Djokovic is still capable of regaining it before the end of the season, although a Federer victory against Swiss compatriot Stanislas Wawrinka last night would have been enough to guarantee an unprecedented 300 weeks at No.1 for the 17-time grand slam champion.
“I think it’s fair to say it has been quite an evenly balanced year between the four, if you want to call it,” said Djokovic. “But it hasn’t been over. There’s still a few more big events to come. Still there are things up for grabs, like No.1 place in the world. It’s something that gives me a lot of motivation with Roger also.
“On the other hand, we haven’t had four (different) grand slam winners in how many years? So this is a great opportunity for the people to see a new grand slam winner, to get more attention to our sport. From that perspective it’s really good.”
Murray, who had a first round bye and a second round walkover, made a belated but brisk start to his title defence, dropping just four games against Alexandr Dolgopolov, and will now meet tricky Czech veteran Radek Stepanek, who eliminated eighth seed John Isner 6-4, 6-7 (5-7), 6-3.
Fifth seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga was the first to reach the last eight, a 6-2, 7-6 (7-2) winner over Marcos Baghdatis. The ATP World Tour finals aspirant will next play Tomas Berdych, the fourth seed in the ongoing absence of Rafael Nadal, who reached his fourth Masters 1000 quarter-final of the season with a 6-2, 6-7 (3-7), 6-4 defeat of American Sam Querrey.
This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.