The 5th seed and London contender Alexander Zverev is through to the third round in Shanghai, beating a qualifier Jeremy Chardy 7-6, 7-6 in an hour and 47 minutes for the 61st Masters 1000 win. It was the fourth straight triumph for Alexander over Jeremy, having to work hard just like at the Australian Open in January when they went down to the wire, taking 11 points more than his rival and still needing two tie breaks to find himself over the top.
There were five break chances in total and two breaks on each side, with Chardy leading 5-3 in the second set before losing the edge and missing the opportunity to send the clash into a decider. The German hit 38 winners and 24 unforced errors while the Frenchman counted to 24 winners and mistakes, with Zverev who hit a service winner in more than 40% of the points behind the initial shot, having the upper hand in the shortest exchanges up to four strokes and keeping his focus in the pivotal moments to avoid the decider.
Alexander broke at 15 in the first game with a backhand crosscourt bullet that Chardy failed to control, staying in front for three games before Jeremy broke back at 1-2 with a backhand down the line winner. They both served well in the next eight games to set up a tie break that saw 28 points and many chances for each player.
The German saved three set points at 6-7, 10-11 and 12-13, passing all the obstacles and prevailing 15-13 thanks to a forehand error from his opponent, converting the sixth set point in just under an hour. The second set kicked off with four commanding holds before Chardy grabbed a break with a deep return, delivering two easy holds and serving for the set at 5-4.
With no room for errors, Zverev broke back with a volley winner, leveling the score at 5-5 and takin the tie break 7-3 to find himself over the top. The 16th seed John Isner toppled Lucas Pouille 7-5, 6-3 in 62 minutes, firing 19 aces and dropping ten points in his service games.
With nothing to rely on in the return games, the pressure was on Lucas all the time and he couldn't deal with it, losing serve once in each set to push John over the finish line. The Frenchman was there to fight in the first 11 games, following Isner's pace before wasting two game points at 5-6, hitting a double fault to drop serve and send John in front.
After seven reliable holds in the second set, the American converted the fourth break chances thanks to another double fault from Lucas, moving 5-3 up and sealing the deal with three service winners in game nine for the place in the last 16.
In the battle of the youngsters and the Next Gen stars, Stefanos Tsitsipas defeated Felix Auger-Aliassime 7-6, 7-6 in two hours and two minutes, beating the Canadian for the first time in three encounters. The Greek won three points more than his rival, fending off two out of three break chances and earning one break from six opportunities, staying calm in both tie break to finish the job without spending more time on the court.
Stefanos had 26 winners and 21 unforced errors while Felix counted to a 31-34 ratio, unable to deliver his best tennis in the tie breaks and losing the sixth encounter in the last eight matches. Tsitsipas broke first in the fourth game after a backhand error from Auger-Aliassime who pulled it back a few minutes later when Stefanos landed a forehand long.
The Greek wasted two set points in the 12th game after two winners from Felix who lost two points on serve in the tie break to hand it to Tsitsipas 7-3. Stefanos was too strong in his service games in set number two, rattling off one good hold after another and waiting for a chance on the return patiently.
It came at 5-5 when Felix had to play against three break chances, fending them off and securing another tie break that Stefanos grabbed 7-3 to grab the triumph and make a winning start. The 7th seed Karen Khachanov ousted Taylor Fritz 6-2, 6-4 in 68 minutes, giving away eight points behind the initial shot and never facing a break point.
Taylor was nowhere near those numbers, spraying more than 20 errors and suffering three breaks to propel the Russian over the top in no time at all. Karen broke in the third game, holding at love in the next game and moving 4-1 up with a backhand down the line winner.
Khachanov closed the opener with three winners in game nine, serving on a high note in set number two as well and delivering a break at 3-3 when Taylor sprayed a backhand error. Serving for the win at 5-4, Khachanov landed three winners to wrap up an impressive clash and advance into the next round.
The 8th seed Roberto Bautista Agut defeated Reilly Opelka 6-4, 7-5 in an hour and 28 minutes, losing ten points on serve and withstanding 18 aces from the American to score one break in each set and extend his chances of reaching the ATP Finals.
The 11th seed Matteo Berrettini stormed over Cristian Garin 6-3, 6-3 in 71 minutes, never giving serve away and earning three breaks to control the scoreboard and set Bautista Agut clash for the place in the quarter-final.