Dominic Thiem and Marin Cilic were dumped out of the Shanghai Masters on Tuesday, but Novak Djokovic’s sensational winning run continued.
Matthew Ebden stunned Thiem with a narrow three-set triumph, sending the French Open finalist packing in his first match of the week in China, before Cilic collapsed against Nicolas Jarry.
Djokovic fared better as he recorded a 14th consecutive triumph, while Kyle Edmund and Borna Coric were also victorious, along with the in-form Nikoloz Basilashvili and Hyeon Chung.
Thiem and Cilic were not the only surprise losers, though, as Benoit Paire upset Pablo Carreno Busta in straight sets.
EBDEN TOPS AUSTRIA STAR THIEM
Australian Ebden, 30, enjoyed one of his career highlights in Shanghai, reaching the quarter-finals in 2011, and another followed on Tuesday.
Thiem was beaten 6-4 6-7 (8-10) 7-6 (7-4) in the latest early defeat of a rollercoaster year, with the sixth seed unable to capitalise on Ebden’s initial failure to serve out the match.
Fifth seed Cilic soon followed the Austrian in making an early exit, letting a comfortable lead slip in a 2-6 7-6 (8-6) 7-5 loss to compound his misery after a similar collapse at the Japan Open.
Wow! @mattebden pulls off the upset, defeating No. 6 @ThiemDomi 6-4, 6-7 (8), 7-6 (4). Plays Gojowczyk in R3. pic.twitter.com/THPk4CUWEd
— RolexShMasters (@SH_RolexMasters) October 9, 2018
‘CLOSE TO MY BEST’ – DJOKOVIC
There is no stopping world number three Djokovic, who is on a hot streak after wins at the last Masters tournament in Cincinnati and then the US Open, as he defeated Jeremy Chardy in Shanghai.
“I think that I’m very close to my best and ‘best’ changes day to day,” he said. “I can always strive to be the best I can be on that given day. This performance was pretty close to that.”
A test against Chung, who defeated Djokovic at the Australian Open at the start of the year, could be up next, though, if the Korean can rediscover his own best form against Marco Cecchinato.
Impressive start from @DjokerNole in Shanghai
Tops Chardy in an entertaining finish 6-3 7-5.#RolexSHMasters pic.twitter.com/4c3jf2lp2n
— Tennis TV (@TennisTV) October 9, 2018
BASILASHVILI BREEZES THROUGH
Another man enjoying a rich vein of form is Basilashvili, who won again against Denis Shapovalov 6-2 6-2 to follow up his shock triumph in last week’s China Open final against Juan Martin del Potro.
If the Georgian is to repeat his sensational run in that tournament, he must next defeat fourth seed Alexander Zverev in the round-of-32.
That match will take place on Wednesday amid another packed schedule, with Roger Federer and Del Potro also in action.