Big three advance in Shanghai Masters

Shanghai: Defending champion Novak Djokovic, World No.1 Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer both got through to the third round of the Shanghai Rolex Masters with easy victories here.

Djokovic, who just won his fourth China Open in Beijing, opened his Shanghai title defence with a comfortable win over Spaniard Marcel Granollers 6-2, 6-0 in just 71 minutes Wednesday. The Serb also bettered his record against Granollers to 3-0.

Coming up next for the Serb will be Italian Fabio Fognini, who upset 16th seed Tommy Robredo.

Djokovic holds a 5-0 head to head advantage over Fognini but is still wary of facing him in the next round. "There`s a reason for where he is now, he`s had a great summer, he`s obviously feeling much more comfortable on the court," said Djokovic of the Italian, who won his first ATP World Tour title this season.

In the battle for the top spot, Djokovic`s long-time rival Nadal, who reclaimed the number one spot at the China Open last week, was also hardly troubled in his opener in Shanghai.

He just needed 58 minutes to send Alexandr Dolgopolov from Ukraine packing 6-3, 6-2.

"The serve worked great. Something that didn`t happen last week. That`s a very important thing. I don`t know, maybe the ball and the court help me little bit more here for the serve. Hopefully that`s a real thing, not a thing of one day. We`ll see tomorrow. I have another tough opponent in front," Nadal said afterwards.

Elsewhere, Swiss great Roger Federer made a welcome return to singles action as he defeated Andreas Seppi 6-4, 6-3 in the second round.

The Swiss was playing his first singles match since a fourth-round exit to Tommy Robredo at the US Open and improved to a 36-12 match record in the season.

Federer seemed to have the jitters at the beginning as the Italian broke for a 3-2 lead in opening set, but Federer responded immediately to level the set and saved a break point in the seventh game before breaking Seppi to take it.

An early break in the second set proved decisive as Federer prevailed in 74 minutes. He goes on to face Gael Monfils.

Conditions are pretty quick here so you have to be focused on your own serve. If you`re not careful, you can be broken rather quickly," said Federer, now ranked seventh in the world.

Talking about his next opponent, he said: "It`s always very entertaining playing Gael. I love the guy, the way he plays, how he entertains the crowd, shot selection, the way he executes as well. It`s unreal really."

Federer is looking for a big performance in Shanghai to help secure his place in the eight-man field at the ATP World
Tour Finals. A six-time winner of the season finale, including twice when it was held in Shanghai in 2006-07, Federer is currently seventh in the ATP Race To London.

In an earlier match, Juan Martin del Potro survived a scare and battled from a set down to defeat German 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.

There were also second round wins for third seed David Ferrer of Spain, fourth seed Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic and France`s seventh seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.

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