Experience and composure kept Juan Martin del Potro rolling on Tuesday as the 2013 runner-up saw off #NextGenATP Russian Andrey Rublev in the second round of the Shanghai Rolex Masters. The No. 16 seed prevailed 6-3, 6-4 in his first FedEx ATP Head2Head meeting with the 19 year old.
The Argentine put the foot down early to break for 2-0 and was dominant on serve throughout. He never faced a break point in either set and finished with 14 aces to set a third-round showdown with either No. 3 seed Alexander Zverev or Aljaz Bedene, an earlier 6-1, 6-4 winner over Paolo Lorenzi.
Rublev, currently No. 2 in the Emirates ATP Race to Milan, let his frustrations show when he dropped serve to open the second set, having worked hard to save three break points. He showed momentary glimpses of his best when he saved a match point at 3-5, serving to stay in the second. Despite a thumping forehand winner down the line to fend off a second match point on del Potro’s serve, it was momentary reprieve as the Argentine closed the match out a point later.
Nitto ATP Finals hopeful Marin Cilic saved all three break points against Brit Kyle Edmund to improve his chances of returning to The O2 in London for the prestigious season-ending tournament, to be held 12-19 November.
Cilic advanced past the 22-year-old Edmund 6-3, 7-6(5) in one hour and 38 minutes to move into the third round. The fourth seed will next face Chinese wild card Di Wu or American Steve Johnson. The Croatian will guarantee his spot in London if he wins the Shanghai title, which would be his second Masters 1000 crown (Cincinnati 2016).
Fabio Fognini also advanced to the third round after a 7-6(7), 6-3 upset of No. 15 seed Lucas Pouille of France. Both players finished with nine aces but it was Fognini who was more effective on break points, fending off all three faced.
The Italian’s win nudged up his FedEx ATP Head2Head ledger with Pouille to 2-1. He awaits the winner of top seed Rafael Nadal and #NextGenATP American Jared Donaldson.