Toronto, Aug 8: Novak Djokovic eased into the second round of the Rogers Cup in Toronto on Tuesday, as a fit-again Stan Wawrinka registered an encouraging victory and Denis Shapovalov began his bid to match last year's fairytale performance.
Djokovic got the better of Mirza Basic to book a meeting with local wildcard Peter Polansky in the next round, while Wawrinka demonstrated the progress he has made in recovering from knee trouble by getting the better of Nick Kyrgios.
Shapovalov announced himself as a potential force on the ATP Tour when he became a surprise semi-finalist in this tournament last year, and the Canadian number one got his attempt to match or better that run at the Masters 1000 event underway with relative ease against Jeremy Chardy
DIMITROV DIGS DEEP
Fifth seed Grigor Dimitrov showed considerable determination to get past Fernando Verdasco, the Bulgarian recovering from losing the first set and coping with the psychological challenge of a lengthy rain delay to win 4-6 6-2 7-6 (7-5).
The inclement weather also forced Shapovalov to wait, but the Canadian had no issues dispatching Chardy 6-1 6-4.
In the final match to be completed on Tuesday, sixth seed Marin Cilic won an all-Croatian encounter with Borna Coric 6-3 3-6 6-1.
WAWRINKA ROARS BACK
After being blown away in the first set, Wawrinka responded to beat 16th seed Kyrgios 1-6 7-5 7-5.
The Swiss survived 26 aces whistling past him to take advantage of the hip injury that has troubled the mercurial Australian.
"It's never easy to play against him. He doesn't give you a lot of freedom. He can serve big. Games can go really quickly on his side," Wawrinka said.
"For sure he's struggling physically... For me, it was important to stay focused on myself, on my game. I'm trying to get some confidence from winning matches."
DJOKOVIC DRAWS ON PAST GLORY
Djokovic is a four-time winner of the Rogers Cup and lost in the final in 2015, leaving the Serbian hopeful of hitting those heights again in Canada this time around.
After Hyeon Chung withdrew from their scheduled encounter due to a back problem, Djokovic dispatched lucky loser Basic 6-3 7-6 (7-3) to continue his comeback from long-term elbow trouble.
"I've had plenty of success in Toronto and Montreal, and I wanted to start off well," Djokovic said.
"I think I played a solid match. Obviously, it takes a little bit of time to get used to the new surface. The conditions here are quite different from practising in Europe or other places... So I'll just focus on this week and see how it goes."
FELIX PURRS IN POUILLE UPSET
There was a crowd-pleasing upset on Centre Court, as Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime ousted France's Lucas Pouille 6-4 6-3, a day before the underdog's 18th birthday.
The teenager dropped his serve just once throughout the contest to surprise a player 115 places above him at 18 in the world rankings.
Fabio Fognini, Robin Haase, Francis Tiafoe and Evgeny Donskoy were among the other players to advance in Toronto.
They were joined in progressing by Stefanos Tsitsipas, Ryan Harrison, Sam Querrey and Karen Khachanov.