Delpo v Sascha. It was billed as the match of the tournament in Shanghai so far, and it certainly delivered.
Del Potro, almost 10 years Zverev’s senior, recovered from a slow start to tame his high-flying young opponent – currently ranked No.4 – in just under two hours.
The 3-6 7-6(5) 6-4 win sees del Potro advance to a quarterfinal against Victor Troicki, who beat 12th seed John Isner 6-4 7-6(4).
“If my level continues improving, I will get closer to the top guys. But it’s not easy,” del Potro said after recording his fourth top-10 victory of 2017.
“I have made a big effort after all my injuries to play tennis, but I think I’m doing well.
“One of my goals for the next year is just to play a whole year. Around 20, 22 tournaments would be great for me.”
Zverev, who destroyed his racquet when dropping serve in the fifth game of the final set, believed it was one of the Argentine’s best performances of the season.
“I think we both played pretty well from the baseline,” he said. “(But) in my eyes I did a horrible job maybe returning or getting the points going on his serve.”
In other results, world No.1 Rafael Nadal continued his dominant run with a straight-sets win over Fabio Fognini.
The Italian was a player who once troubled Nadal, winning three of their matches in a row in 2015.
Yet Nadal has managed to wrest control of the rivalry of late; his 6-3 6-1 victory was his fifth straight against Fognini, and sent him through to a blockbuster quarterfinal against Grigor Dimitrov.
The sixth-seeded Dimitrov beat Sam Querrey in straight sets.
Second seed Roger Federer took his record against Alexandr Dolgopolov to 5-0 thanks to a 6-4 6-2 win on Thursday over the Ukrainian qualifier.
“I felt good in the first match (against Diego Schwartzman), I must tell you. So I felt, I think, the same. I think maybe the matchup was maybe a bit easier and I took my chances more,” Federer said.
“Had a better ratio of winning on the break points that I didn’t quite have against Schwartzman. That’s maybe the biggest difference of both matches, so I’m happy I was able to do better today on the break points.”
Next up for Federer is Frenchman Richard Gasquet.
“I like playing Gasquet on fast courts,” Federer said.
Rounding our the quarterfinal line-up in Shanghai were fourth seeded Marin Cilic – a 7-6(1) 6-4 winner against Steve Johnson – and Albert Ramos-Vinolas, who won in a near identical scoreline over Jan-Lennard Struff.
20 February 2018
So Roger Federer returned to No.1 last week in Rotterdam. And Caroline Wozniacki held on t... More
14 February 2018
Much was made of Roger Federer's six month break from tennis in 2016, and how it paved the... More
19 February 2018
Was Australian Open 2018 the shot in the arm the women’s game needed?Some might argue it... More