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London Contenders del Potro, Berdych, Tsonga Advance

Shanghai, China

Tsonga© Getty ImagesJo-Wilfried Tsonga made a good start to his Shanghai campaign.

Juan Martin del Potro survived a scare in his Shanghai Rolex Masters opener on Wednesday, battling from a set down to defeat Philipp Kohlschreiber 3-6, 6-3, 7-6(4). The Argentine missed the opportunity to serve out the match at 5-4 in the third set, but regrouped in the tie-break to prevail in two hours and five minutes.

The 25 year old admitted afterwards that he had been feeling ill, which impeded his play. "It was really tough for me," said del Potro, who subsequently withdrew from the doubles with Carlos Berlocq. "I couldn't run a lot. I think my serve helped me a lot to keep playing for the three sets because I made many aces. With my serve I didn't run too much. I was lucky in the tie-break because he made a few mistakes. I won a really tough match."

If del Potro reaches the final of this ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournament, he will qualify for the year-end Barclays ATP World Tour Finals. The Argentine is coming off his third ATP World Tour title of the season in Tokyo (d. Raonic) and is fifth in the Emirates ATP Race To London, next in line to qualify for the season finale in London next month.

Del Potro’s fellow London contenders, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Tomas Berdych, also made winning starts. Berdych is in the same situation as del Potro and would qualify for London should he reach the Shanghai final. The Czech recovered from the back injury that forced him to retire in last week’s China Open semi-finals to defeat Feliciano Lopez 7-6(5), 6-2 in 90 minutes. It was his 50th match win of the season.

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"I wouldn't say [my back is] 100 per cent, but I decided I was competitive enough to go on court and try to play,” said Berdych. “Looks like it was a smart decision. I wasn't limited at all and felt quite OK. The first set was pretty tough, it was really about one or two points. I needed a lot of patience. Feli likes to play tactically, with a lot of slice and it's not easy to keep a big rhythm with that."

Tsonga dismissed Pablo Andujar 6-3, 6-2 in 65 minutes. The Frenchman broke serve four times and hit nine aces to claim his 35th win of the season. 

"I'm really happy," said Tsonga. "I played a good match. I was solid on serve. I'm trying to take the tournament step-by-step. I'm thinking about my body, trying to stay healthy, find my level, and maybe I will have a chance [to qualify for London]."

Tsonga is looking for a late surge in the Emirates ATP Race To London, after being sidelined for nearly three months during the summer due to a left knee injury. He returned last month with a runner-up showing in Metz (l. to Simon) and is currently in 11th spot. 

Fabio Fognini set a third-round clash with top seed Novak Djokovic. The Italian advanced when Tommy Robredo was forced to retire from their match with a wrist injury. Fognini had been leading 7-6(3), 2-1. He will look to overturn a 0-5 FedEx ATP Head2Head record over Djokovic to reach the quarter-finals. 

After upsetting Richard Gasquet in the first round, Vasek Pospisil saw his Shanghai campaign come to an end in the second round, losing 7-5, 7-6(4) to France’s Gael Monfils in just under two hours. Monfils goes on to face either Roger Federer or Andreas Seppi.

Heartbreak For Mirnyi/Tecau
There was heartbreak for Barclays ATP World Tour Finals contenders Max Mirnyi and Horia Tecau on Wednesday in Shanghai as they lost 6-7(4), 7-6(2), 17-15 to Treat Huey and Dominic Inglot in the first round. Mirnyi and Tecau are ninth in the Emirates ATP Doubles Team Rankings. 

Another team in the hunt for London suffered a setback when British duo Colin Fleming and Jonathan Marray defeated 11th-placed Santiago Gonzalez and Scott Lipsky 3-6, 7-5, 10-7. Fleming and Marray go on to face second seeds Marcel Granollers and Marc Lopez.

‘Polish Power’ Mariusz Fyrstenberg and Marcin Matkowski stayed on track in their bid to reach the season finale, opening their Shanghai campaign with a 6-3, 7-6(6) victory over Andre Begemann and Martin Emmrich. The in-form pairing of Jamie Murray and John Peers also advanced, beating Lukas Rosol and Bernard Tomic 7-5, 6-4. 


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Shanghai Rolex Masters, Shanghai

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