Tennis ace Nick Kyrgios has taken another step towards becoming the first Australian in more than a decade to qualify for the ATP World Tour Finals.
Kyrgios outclassed American giantkiller Sam Querrey 6-4 6-4 in his Shanghai Masters opener on Tuesday night to edge closer to sealing a spot in next month's eight-man season-ending championship in London.
Already in elite company as a three-time tour winner in 2016, Kyrgios can all but secure his ticket to London with victory in China or by embarking on deep runs in his final two events of the year in Basel and Paris.
If he does so, Kyrgios will be the first Australian since dual champion Lleyton Hewitt in 2005 to qualify for the annual showpiece.
At 21, the two-time grand slam quarter-finalist would also be the youngest since Juan Martin del Potro in 2009.
First, though, Kyrgios must negotiate a testing draw in Shanghai to boost his hopes of joining the creme de la creme of men's tennis at the O2 Arena from November 12-20.
Fresh off his Tokyo triumph on Sunday night, Kyrgios made light work of Querrey - Novak Djokovic's Wimbledon conqueror - to progress to a second-round contest against German qualifier Mischa Zverev.
The winner will likely play seventh seed Tomas Berdych, with Djokovic, the top seed and world No.1, looming as a potential quarter-final hurdle for Kyrgios.
The Canberran entered the tournament in 12th spot in the race to London, but less than 800 points behind eighth-placed Dominic Thiem.
Austrian Thiem is under threat from Kyrgios - and other World Tour Finals hopefuls Marin Cilic, David Goffin and Berdych - as he sits out the Masters 1000 event in China.
The champions in Shanghai and Paris will collect 1000 points, the runners-up 600, semi-finalists 360 and quarter-finalists 180, while there are half as many points up for grabs in Paris.
Djokovic, Wimbledon champion Andy Murray, US Open winner Stan Wawrinka and Milos Raonic have all booked their tickets to London, with Kei Nishikori, Gael Monfils and Rafael Nadal pressing hard to join them.
Hewitt was the last Australian to contest the season-ending championship in 2004, finishing runner-up to Roger Federer, after winning back-to-back crowns in 2001-02.
He qualified for a fifth time in 2005, after debuting in 2000, but skipped the event to be with wife Bec for the birth of their first child.