The 6th seed Grigor Dimitrov never passed the second round here in Shanghai before and he is now the quarter-finalist, after a 6-3 7-6 triumph against Sam Querrey in 80 minutes. This was their third meeting and the third win for Bulgarian, who saved 2 out of 3 break points and scored 2 breaks to close the match in straight sets. It was a solid performance from both but Grigor had 20 winners and just 9 unforced errors, which made the difference against 23 winners and 20 errors that Sam had.
Grigor had to save 2 break points in his opening service game and he moved in front with a break in game 4 when Querrey netted an easy backhand. Serving to stay in the set at 2-5, Sam saved 3 set points with 3 winners but Grigor brought the set home with an ace on the T line in game 9 after 32 minutes.
American broke at love in the second game of the second set when Dimitrov sent a routine forehand into the net, although he didn't stay in front for too long. Grigor broke back in the very next game, also at love, when Querrey's volley landed long, and they were now back on the level terms.
Both players served well until the end of the set and it had to be decided in the tie break, which Grigor won by 7-3. He was 0-2 down before he grabbed 7 out of the next 8 points to cross the finish line first, scoring 3 mini-breaks and wrapping up a win with a service winner.
Facing each other for the first time, Juan Martin del Potro and Alexander Zverev played a very solid match and the Argentine emerged as a winner by 3-6 7-6 6-4 in an hour and 55 minutes. Both players served at 73% and we saw just 5 break points in total, with 1 break for each player. Nonetheless, del Potro stepped in after losing the first set and he dropped just 7 points on serve in sets 2 and 3, keeping the pressure on Zverev and earning an important win that puts him back in the Top 20 for the first time in 3 years! Sascha fired 22 aces and he sailed through his service games in the first and second set, being 3 points away from the triumph in the tie break.
Still, he couldn't bring the match home and he will be worried about these return percentages he had in the last two sets, just like against Kyrgios in Beijing on Saturday. German had 46 winners and 32 unforced errors and del Potro was also on a positive 25-14 ratio.
The Argentine outplayed his young rival in the mid-range rallies, that delivered the win for him in the end. Sascha was off to a perfect start, taking 12 out of the first 14 points to create a 3-0 gap, which was all he needed to bring the set home, serving great in his games.
He earned that break in the second game with a forehand winner and the set was his when Juan Martin netted a forehand in game 9 after 26 minutes. Del Potro upped his game in set number 2, holding easily just like his rival and keeping his backhand safe in the rallies.
The crucial moment of the tie break was the 10th point when Delpo forced an error from his rival to move 6-4 ahead, and he closed the set with a service winner, winning the breaker by 7-5 and sending the match into a decider.
There, he continued to march on in his service games, using his serve to prepare the ground for the attacks with his forehand, and Zverev stayed away from deuces or break points. German got broken in the 5th game, netting a backhand and breaking his racquet in frustration, and Juan Martin opened a 4-2 gap with a service winner in game 6.
The youngster was in trouble on serve again in game 9, saving 2 match points to reduce the deficit to 5-4 and force his opponent to serve for the win. Juan Martin did that in style, blasting another service winner to clinch the win and move to the last 8.
World number 5 Marin Cilic scored his 86th Masters 1000 win, edging Steve Johnson 7-6 6-4 in an hour and 27 minutes, advancing to his 11th quarter-final of the season. This was their 4th meeting and Marin won them all, losing only 1 set so far, but he had to work hard to earn this one.
It was a solid serving display from both, with 2 break points on each side and only 1 break in the entire match, which was good enough for Cilic to prevail in straight sets. Croat finished the encounter with 35 winners and 16 unforced errors while Johnson stood on a negative 15-16 ratio, losing the majority of the longer rallies against the rival who tamed his shots nicely.
Marin lost just 10 points in total on serve and Johnson followed that pace in the first set, as they reached the tie break with no break points. Cilic was a more focused player in the crucial moments, scoring 3 mini-breaks and winning the breaker by 7-1 with a service winner to wrap up the opener.
Johnson was in all kind of troubles when he got broken in the 3rd game of the second set, powerless against mighty forehands from his opponent, but he had a chance to pull it back in game 6 when Marin faced 2 break points.
He saved the first one with a forehand down the line winner and the second with another forehand, this time cross court, closing the game with additional two solid forehands for a 4-2. Marin held at love in his last 2 service games, concluding the match in game 10 when Steve sent a forehand long.
Third round results: