ATP Shanghai: Novak Djokovic continues to roll

Novak Djokovic overcame some tough resistance from Vasek Pospisil to knock off the Canadian in straight sets on his way to the quarterfinals.

ATP Shanghai: Novak Djokovic continues to roll
Novak Djokovic celebrates his third round win. Photo: Lintao Zhang/Getty Images
Novak Djokovic
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Vasek Pospisil

With a wide-open path to the semifinals, Novak Djokovic continued his march toward a title defense at the Shanghai Rolex Masters on Thursday with a straight-sets win over Vasek Pospisil. Despite a quick start from the Serbian, he did not have things entirely his way as Pospisil stubbornly refused to go away. But in the end, the world number 131 could not keep up with the world number one as Djokovic would push forward and take the match 6-4, 6-4.

Djokovic hangs on after quick start

Djokovic got off to a pretty much perfect start to this match, breaking Pospisil on his first break point to open the match and consolidated with a hold to love. The top seed continued to roll, racing ahead 30-40 in the second game and while Pospisil saved that break point, the Serbian continued to push and broke at 40-AD to make it a double break lead, holding to 15 to make it 4-0.

Vasek Pospisil lunges for a forehand during his third round loss. Photo: Lintao Zhang/Getty Images
Vasek Pospisil lunges for a forehand during his third round loss. Photo: Lintao Zhang/Getty Images

Pospisil did not go away quietly. After finally getting on the board with a hold in the fifth game, he turned his attention to the Djokovic serve. He reached break point for the first time in the match at 30-40 in the following game and took advantage of his opportunity, breaking Djokovic to reclaim the first break. He held again in the following game to close the gap to 4-3. However, that was as close as the Canadian would get, as the world number one held to stop Posipsil’s run and, even though he fell short of another break in the next game despite forcing two deuces, took the set in his following service game.

Lone break goes to Djokovic

The second set was a far closer affair from the off, with both men putting some mild pressure on their opponent’s serves in the early stages, even though neither managed to reach break point. The first five games of the second set were won by the server to 30 before Djokovic held to love in the sixth game.

Djokovic hits a backhand on Thursday in Shanghai. Photo: Lintao Zhang/Getty Images
Djokovic hits a backhand on Thursday in Shanghai. Photo: Lintao Zhang/Getty Images

That seemed to be a momentum shifter as in the following game, Djokovic raced ahead 15-40. Pospisil would save both break points, but Djokovic kept coming and converted his third break point of the game to take a 4-3 lead. That would prove to be the crucial break as neither player reached break point again in the set. The Serbian would hold his last two service games to seal the victory in an hour and 20 minutes.

By the Numbers

Djokovic proved in this match that simpler can be better on serve. He only had two aces to Pospisil’s 12, but did not hit any double faults while the Canadian struck six. Djokovic’s return battered the young Canadian, who only managed 68 percent of his first serve points and a mere 38 percent of his seconds. Djokovic was far more consistent, winning 71 percent of both first and second serves. The Serbian failed to save a break point in the match, although he only faced one. Pospisil saved three of six.

In the quarterfinals, Djokovic will play a qualifier for the second round in a row, Mischa Zverev.