Novak Djokovic was a straight set-winner over Kevin Anderson in his Shanghai Masters quarter-final to set up a semi-final meeting against Alexander Zverev. He won 7-6, 6-3 to enter the last-four stage of the competition.
In what will be a repeat of the 2018 Wimbledon final, Novak Djokovic will be up against Kevin Anderson in the Shanghai Masters quarter-final. The match will be played on Friday, October 12 in Shanghai.
The Serb had a chance to feature in the China Open last week in a bid to improve his rankings points but opted out of it. A win there would have narrowed his gap down with Rafael Nadal at the top of the pile but Djokovic decided to rest and recuperate and focus on the Shanghai Masters instead.
And so far, it does look like that decision is reaping rich dividends.
Djokovic can sometimes be a slow starter in such big tournaments which is why the clinical nature of his first two wins, in rounds two and three, would have been a sight for the sore. At least for his fans.
In his opener, he defeated Mikhail Kukushkin 6-3, 6-2, and if one thought that was a flash in a pan, Djokovic crushed his second round opponent in the form of 16th seeded Marco Cecchinato. He was 5-4 up in the first set before reeling off seven games in a row to finish off the match.
In doing so, Djokovic also extracted some revenge from Cecchinato, who had beaten him at the French Open quarter-finals earlier this year.
And he will go into his quarter-final match against an opponent who had tried hard to give him a big run for his money at the final of Wimbledon, a tournament that Djokovic went on to win. Anderson, who has won just once against Djokovic – and it came way back in 2008 in Miami – had achieved his highest singles ranking of five earlier this year.
It had followed his finals appearance at Wimbledon but since then, has had an up and down time on the circuit. A semi-final appearance at the Rogers Cup was ended by Stefanos Tsitsipas, the same opponent he defeated here in round three to set up this meeting with Djokovic.
A round two defeat in Cincinnati Masters was followed by a fourth round ouster by Dominic Thiem at the US Open and since then, he had a tough one at Tokyo. There, he did make it to the quarter-finals but not before he was taken to three sets by Matt Ebden and Frances Tiafoe. Later he was sent packing in straight sets by Richard Gasquet.
This is why it seems quite unlikely that a player breathing fire like Djokovic is – and boy, does it look like he can go all the way to finish the year as the number one player – could be tested by a struggling Anderson. We are backing Djokovic for a straight-set win here.