Carlos Alcaraz emerged with a 7-6 (1), 6-4 win on Monday in what he called his toughest test third season away from the majors as the top seed advanced at the ATP Shanghai masters.

The Spaniard beat Brit Dan Evans for the second time in as many months after dropping a set in a win at the US Open third round in September.

Alcaraz will face Grigor Dimitrov in the Chinese fourth round after the Bulgarian beat Karen Khachanov 7-6 (4), 6-4 in their third-round meeting.

Alcaraz produced a screaming service return winner to clinch victory over Evans in 83 minutes and said he was severely tested by the No. 33.

“Every time I play Daniel it’s a tricky match,” the winner said. “I have to give my bet to beat him,

“We both played very high quality; I’m happy to get through and pleased with my level.”

The Shanghai debutant ended with 34 winners while Evans was not helped by 27 unforced errors.

“This was my toughest win of the season outside of the Grand Slams,” Alcaraz said. “I had to stay strong mentally and physically.”

Evans got off a tear in the first set, winning a 19-minute game to earn a 4-1 lead only to see Alcaraz claw back to 5-all as he reeled in the Brit. The winner had just a pair of unforced errors in the second set as he ran his record in the series to a flawless 4-0

Alcaraz now stands 41-1 on the season against opponents ranked outside the Top 20.

 The 20-year-old winner claimed his 63rd victory of the season and has tightened the race to No. 1 as he works to displace Novak Djokovic – inactive this autumn until returning for Paris Bercy in November.

The leading pair are separated by just 500 ranking points, with Alcaraz set for a return to the top should he reach the final here.

Alcaraz owns six trophies this season including Masters at Indian Wells and Madrid.