Andy Murray is safely through to the last 16 of the Shanghai Rolex Masters after a routine straight sets victory over American Steve Johnson.
The Briton looked comfortable in his first appearance since guiding Great Britain into the Davis Cup final breaking Johnson’s serve twice in the first set – the second break clinching the set 6-2.
The American world No.47 managed to hold his serve until the Scot broke it in the final game of the set to take it 6-4 and seal his place in the next round.
Murray is due to face 13th seed John Isner tomorrow morning, who fired down 21 aces on his way to a 6-3, 7-6 (7/5) victory over Belgium’s David Goffin. The 6ft 10ins American did not face a single break point despite the Belgian forcing a tie-break in the second set.
Goffin, who will play for Belgium in next month’s Davis Cup final against Murray, will now get time to practice on clay ahead of that showdown in Ghent.
Top seed Novak Djokovic sailed into the third round with a 6-2, 6-1 win over Martin Klizan, but Rafael Nadal had it much tougher, the eighth seed battling past big-serving Croat 7-5, 6-7 (4/7), 7-6 (7/4).
Sixth seed Kei Nishikori came back from a set down to beat Australian Nick Kyrgios 1-6, 6-4, 6-4 in their second round clash.
Nishikori, who entered the contest after a first round bye, looked rusty in the early proceedings as he was broken in his very first service game.
Kyrgios ruthlessly capitalised, racing to a 5-0 lead before serving out for the first set. But the Japanese 25-year-old grew in confidence and took advantage of Kyrgios’ heated exchange with the umpire after a line call at the end of the second set. The final set went with serve until Nishikori broke in the 10th game and he went on to clinch a spot in the last 16.
Kyrgios could now find himself in hot water after his code violation for smacking a ball close to line-judge. He is currently under a suspended 28-day ban following comments about fellow player Stan Wawrinka’s girlfriend during their match in Toronto in August and if he accrues $5000 worth of fines before the end of the year, he will trigger his sanction.
The Australian has already been fined $1,500 (£984) this week after receiving a warning for an audible obscenity in which he complained about the court surface during his first-round victory on Monday against Andreas Haider- Maurer. This came just three days after he escaped a fine for hitting a ball at the indoor roof during his quarter-final at the Japan Open in Tokyo.
The world No.32 now waits to hear if he will be fined for this latest incident in Shanghai. Under ATP World Tour rules, a fine up to $10,000 (£6,535) can be imposed. A verdict is due to be reached this morning.
Kyrgios maintained his innocence, saying: ‘I didn’t hit the ball in anger, I just hit it. Obviously it was pretty close to the line umpire. It wasn’t out of rage or anything.
‘Obviously I didn’t think it was worthy of a code, but he [the umpire] thought it was. I probably shouldn’t have done it, but I didn’t think it was too bad.’
Another Australian in world No.20 Bernard Tomic had a far more positive day. He capitalised on a lacklustre performance from seventh seed David Ferrer to earn a 6-4, 6-2 win. Tomic raced into a 5-0 lead in the first set before Ferrer broke back in the seventh and ninth games. But Tomic managed to serve out the set and go on to progress into the last 16.
Elsewhere, Kevin Anderson booked his place in the third round with 6-3, 7-6 (7/1) victory over Italy’s Fabio Fognini, ninth seed Milos Raonic saved a match point as he defeated Roberto Bautista Agut 6-4, 6-7 (3/7), 7-6 (7-5), while Feliciano Lopez edged past Dominic Thiem 6-7 (4/7), 7-6 (8/6), 6-3.