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Shanghai Masters 2016: Alexander Zverev upsets Marin Cilic, Juan Martin del Potro ousted


A number of young players beat their senior rivals on court in Shanghai yesterday.

SHANGHAI, CHINA - OCTOBER 11:  Alexander Zverev of Germany returns a shot against Marin Cilic of Croatia during the Men's singles first round match on day three of Shanghai Rolex Masters at Qi Zhong Tennis Centre on October 11, 2016 in Shanghai, China.  (Photo by Lintao Zhang/Getty Images)
19-year-old Alexander ‘Sascha’ Zverev is fresh off his first ever ATP title in St. Petersburg

Rising tennis talent Alexander Zverev continues to make his way to the top echelons of the sport as he ousted the eighth seed and former US Open champion Marin Cilic in the second round of the Shanghai Masters on Tuesday. The 19-year-old, who recently beat Stan Wawrinka for the St. Petersburg title, rebounded from a first-set loss for a 3-6, 6-3, 6-2 victory over Cilic in 1 hour 54 minutes.

Read more: Zverev beats US Open champion Wawrinka for debut ATP title

Zverev thundered seven aces and broke the Croatian thrice in this contest.

Zverev’s maiden title win and a subsequent run to the quarter-finals of the China Open have pushed him up to a career-high No. 21 in the rankings. The Hamburg native is aiming for a top-20 year-end finish and trails the 20th ranked Ivo Karlovic by just 50 points.

The young German next meets the ninth seed and 2015 runner-up Jo-Wilfried Tsonga for a place in the quarter-finals. Tsonga, who has come back to the Tour after recovering from a knee injury, showed no signs of slowing down and emerged a 6-3, 7-6(6) winner over Serbia’s Janko Tipsarevic.

Zverev was not the only rising star winning on Tuesday. Japan Open champion Nick Kyrgios picked up from where he had left in Tokyo and cruised through his opener in Shanghai. The 21-year-old, seeded 12th at this tournament, beat Sam Querrey, 6-4, 6-4 to set up a second round meeting with qualifier Mischa Zverev.

13th seeded Lucas Pouille, who had earlier clinched the Moselle Open, too was impressive in his first round. The 22-year-old prevailed 6-3, 6-3 over Spanish veteran Fernando Verdasco.

Smooth sailing for Djokovic; Del Potro, Ferrer lose

Top seed and World No. 1 Novak Djokovic made a successful return to the ATP Tour with a thumping 6-3, 6-3 win over Fabio Fognini. The defending champion had pulled out of last week’s China Open due to an elbow injury.

But two other ATP stars did not enjoy the same good fortunes. Rio Olympic silver medallist Juan Martin del Potro, who reached the final in 2013, lost a tight three-setter to the 11th seed David Goffin in the first round. The Argentine was a set and a break up from where he went on to lose 6-4, 3-6, 5-7 in 2 hours 18 minutes.

10th seeded Spaniard David Ferrer too bowed out of the tournament after succumbing to a 6(3)-7, 6-4, 6(4)-7 loss to compatriot Feliciano Lopez in Round 1. Ferrer had reached the semi-finals of the China Open last week where he lost to eventual winner Andy Murray.

There were, however, no such problems for China Open runner-up Grigor Dimitrov, who toppled the 14th seeded Richard Gasquet, 6-4, 6-4 to enter the second round.

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