SHANGHAI — Canadians improved to 4-0 at the Shanghai Masters after wins by Felix Auger-Aliassime and Vasek Pospisil on Tuesday.
Vancouver’s Pospisil won his second match in as many days and just his third match of the season following back surgery as he prevailed 6-3, 7-5 over Portugal’s Joao Sousa in the second round.
Montreal’s Auger-Aliassime was leading qualifier Alexander Bublik of Kazakhstan 7-6 (5), 4-0 when the latter player retired.
Pospisil’s win over the 63rd-ranked Sousa currently has him shooting up 59 spots in the rankings after starting the week at No. 248.
Pospisil won 31 of 34 points when he got his first serve in, including 15 aces.
The 29-year-old Pospisil will face No. 3 seed Daniil Medvedev of Russia in the third round.
The 19-year-old Auger-Aliassime, ranked a career-high 19th this week, saved 12 of 14 break points to fend off a challenge from the 54th-ranked Bublik.
Auger-Aliassime will meet No. 6 seed Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece in the second round on Wednesday. The Canadian is 2-0 lifetime on tour against the 21-year-old Tsitsipas, winning earlier this year at Indian Wells, Calif., (hard court) and London/Queen’s Club (grass court). He also beat Tsitsipas in all three of their matches in the junior ranks.
"We have to look at every match in a separate way," Auger-Aliassime said. "It’s a different time, he’s playing differently, I’m playing differently. In the end for sure, there’s a psychologic aspect that is there, that’s a fact. But again, I’m going to approach the match like every other match and try to compete the best I can and be ready for everything."
Denis Shapovalov of Richmond Hill, Ont., will face top-ranked Novak Djokovic of Serbia in the second round on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, Roger Federer didn’t face a break point as he won his opening match, beating Albert Ramos-Vinolas 6-2, 7-6 (5).
The second-seeded Federer, who is bidding to win a third Shanghai Masters title, dominated in the first set, but was tested in the second.
Federer struggled in the tiebreaker, falling behind 1-4, but eventually managed to pull even. He won his lone match point when he executed a forehand crosscourt volley.
"I focused and had good energy, because sometimes, you know, when you travel around the globe, you’re missing a bit of energy," Federer said. "Those first few games or matches can be sometimes a bit tricky.
"I think (my) serve was solid. I was hitting my spots and really was never in trouble there."
The last time the two faced each other was in the 2015 Shanghai Masters, where the Spaniard shocked Federer by taking the three-set encounter, and Federer admitted he had that second-round match on his mind on Tuesday.
"All the time," said Federer, when asked if he thought of their previous outing. "The truth, yeah, I was thinking about it. Watched highlights. Remember how it felt. I had my chances. I won many more points that time than I lost, so I should have actually won that match."
Andy Murray served for his second-round match against 10th seed Fabio Fognini twice in the third set — in the 10th and 12th games — but ended up losing 7-6 (4), 2-6, 7-6 (2) in a match which lasted more than three hours.
"I’m very disappointed right now," Murray said. "There is a lot of things that I need to get better at, and I can do much better. I will go away and I’ll work on those things.
"I served for the match twice and lost after three hours, so I want to say that’s the first time ever in my career that that’s happened."
Similarly to Federer, Medvedev never offered his opponent, British qualifier Cameron Norrie, a break point opportunity in securing a 6-3, 6-1 second-round win in 54-minutes.
"I’m really happy with my performance, really happy with the score and am really looking forward to the next round," Medvedev said. "It was my first match here in Shanghai after having a few weeks off, so I was a little bit stressed about how my level would be.
"I managed to get out of there in less than an hour."
Medvedev has reached the final of the last five tournaments he’s played, including his first Grand Slam final showing, which came at the U.S. Open.
Unseeded Andrey Rublev of Russia upset Borna Coric 6-4, 7-6 (4) in the first round.
The 12th-seeded Coric was runner-up in Shanghai last year, losing to Djokovic in straight sets in the final.
— With files from The Associated Press.