Impressive Djokovic gets revenge to make Shanghai quarters
The Serbian second seed was stunned by the Italian — ranked 72 in the world at the time — in the French Open quarter-finals earlier this year.
It was part of the wretched run of form Djokovic suffered in the first half of the year after elbow surgery in February.
But the world number three exploded back to life in the northern hemisphere summer, winning Wimbledon, the Cincinnati Masters and US Open.
The 31-year-old, who is now gunning for Rafael Nadal’s number one ranking, says he is back close to the kind of blistering form that has brought him 14 Grand Slams.
And he proved it against Cecchinato, bustling past the 16th seed in just under 70 minutes.
Djokovic will play South Africa’s Kevin Anderson or the Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas in the quarter-finals.
Rising star Alexander Zverev was similarly emphatic as he brushed aside Australia’s new number one, teenager Alex de Minaur, 6-1, 6-4.
The German fourth seed will face 11th seed Kyle Edmund in the last eight.
The 21-year-old Zverev was ruthless as he took the first set in just 29 minutes, although his 19-year-old opponent showed more fight in the second.
Zverev has been suffering with a cold but ratcheted up the pressure to grab the all-important break of serve in the ninth game before closing out the match against de Minaur, who this week replaced Nick Kyrgios as Australia’s top-ranked player.
Edmund, Britain’s number one, defeated Chile’s Nicolas Jarry 7-6 (7/5), 6-3.