Novak Djokovic confessed to feeling nervous during the early stages of his rematch with Marco Cecchinato, as he booked his spot in the quarter-finals of the Shanghai Masters.
The Serb cut a frustrated figure against the Italian – who famously beat him at the French Open earlier this year – particularly when failing to break him in the third game of the match.
Djokovic couldnt convert two break point chances from 15-40 and hurled his racquet into the ground as his emotions boiled over.
It proved to be a small setback in the wider context of the match, with Djokovic feeding Cecchinato a bagel in a 6-4 6-0 win, but the 14-time Grand Slam champion admitted there was tension created due to their last meeting.
You know, hes a tough player to play against, the 31-year-old told Sky Sports after the win. He fights for every ball and plays with more rotation than my first round opponent [Jeremy Chardy].
I lost to him the last match we played in the quarters of the French Open so it was a nervous start for me, for I think both of us – we were feeling the tension.
But I think that break in the seventh game of the first set was crucial, I just felt I could hit through the ball better. I was really pleased with the way I was holding my serve and the second set was perfect.
In these kinds of elements that are pretty quick on the court, you know, youre working hard to get as many free points as you possibly can. Hopefully I can keep doing as well with the serve in the next match.
Djokovic will face another familiar foe in the next round, where he will take on Kevin Anderson in a rematch of the Wimbledon final.
Anderson defeated Greek hotshot Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-4 7-6 (7-1) to set up a last-eight tie with the second seed.
In the other bottom half quarter, British No. 1 Kyle Edmund will take on Alexander Zverev as he continued his fine recent form.
The Yorkshireman is yet to drop a set in Shanghai and defeated Chiles Nicolas Jarry 7-6 (7-5) 6-3 to set up a tie with the world No. 5.
Germanys Zverev was in ruthless form as he dispatched Australias Alex De Minaur 6-1 6-4.