Shanghai, Oct 9: Novak Djokovic began his quest for a fourth Shanghai Masters title by retaining his flawless record against Jeremy Chardy in the first round.
The Serbian, who can move 35 points behind world number one Rafael Nadal in the rankings by regaining the trophy he last won in 2015, improved to 12-0 without dropping a single set against the Frenchman by triumphing 6-3 7-5 on Tuesday.
It was Djokovic's 14th straight win, a period in which he became the first man to achieve the Golden Masters and drew level with Pete Sampras with a 14th grand slam title at the US Open.
The world number three snapped up the first break point that came his way in game five of the first and when Chardy, who saved one set point with an ace, buried a forehand into the net he was halfway to victory.
A much tighter affair followed in the second, with Djokovic producing a string of impressive shots as his opponent provided sterner resistance.
A volley at full stretch after attacking the net drew a thumbs up from Chardy at 3-3, while he was unable to build on a sensational backhand slice that was passed down the line and claim the next game against serve.
The Frenchman saved the first match point with a brilliant serve and volley but after he failed to force a tie-break, a long forehand gave Djokovic passage to the second round, where he will meet Marco Cecchinato or Hyeon Chung.