Shanghai - Former U.S. Open champion Marin Cilic fought off a match point before rallying to defeat local hope Wu Di of China 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (4) in the opening round of the Shanghai Masters on Monday.
The 14th-seeded Cilic only allowed Wu two games in their previous encounter four years
The No. 227-ranked Wu saved 11 of the 14 break points he faced and broke the big-serving Croatian three times in the match.
Wu got to match point with Cilic serving at 4-5 in the third set, but the Croatian saved it with his 13th ace of the match and closed the game out with his 14th ace. He then raced out to a 5-1 lead in the tiebreak and held on for the win.
Cilic finished with 50 winners, more than double his Chinese opponent.
In other matches, John Isner smashed 20 aces to defeat France's Adrian Mannarino 6-1, 6-2 in 45 minutes.
The 13th-seeded American lost only six points on his first serve and saved the only break point he faced in the second set.
Australia's Nick Kyrgios hit 13 aces and saved all five break points he faced to beat Andreas Haider-Maurer 6-3, 6-2. He will next face Japanese star Kei Nishikori, who had a first-round bye.
"Obviously Kei, he's one of the best players in the world right now," Kyrgios said. "He's got unbelievable returns. He's a great athlete. He's playing well. So I know what I have to do."
Croatia's Ivo Karlovic advanced with a 6-4, 7-6 (6) win over Jeremy Chardy and will next play Rafael Nadal, who is coming off a runner-up finish at last week's China Open in Beijing.
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, the 16th seed, also reached the second round with a 6-7 (5), 6-2, 6-2 win over Spain's Tommy Robredo 6-7 (5), 6-2, 6-2, and Feliciano Lopez topped Russian qualifier Andrey Kuznetsov 6-4, 7-6 (3).
Top-seeded Novak Djokovic will play Martin Klizan in his opening match after the Slovakian defeated China's Zhang Ze 7-6 (8), 6-2.
Djokovic will try to win back-to-back titles at the China Open and Shanghai Masters for the third time following his triumph last week in Beijing. He also accomplished the double in 2012 and 2013.
Roger Federer is scheduled to play his second-round match on Tuesday against Spanish qualifier Albert Ramos-Vinolas.