Tuesday, 11 December, 2018

Federer fires to join Djokovic in Shanghai semis

Coric stuns Federer in Shanghai, faces Djokovic in final Zverev qualifies for ATP Finals with quarterf...
Cassandra Castillo | 13 October, 2018, 00:32

Although Roger Federer finally won a match in straight sets at this year's Shanghai Masters, it didn't save him any energy.

The 20-time Grand Slam champion and top seed will meet 13th seed Borna Coric on Saturday after the Croatian defeated unseeded Australian Matthew Ebden 7-5, 6-4. I honestly thought it was going to a third set there, but it's extraordinary how Federer seems to find a way to win matches.

"I think he raised his tennis level in the second set and I knew there would be long points".

Earlier in the day, three-times Shanghai champion Novak Djokovic extended his winning streak to 16 matches after beating South African Kevin Anderson 7-6 (1) 6-3, edging the Serb closer to the world number two ranking.

The 31-year-old from Serbia is in sparkling form, winning Wimbledon, the Cincinnati Masters and US Open in recent months, after having elbow surgery in February.

The set headed into a tie-break which Nishikori appeared to take control of, but Federer wiped out a 4-1 lead, reeling off six points in a row to secure a semi-final berth.

For this first match, Djokovic is a solid [1.37] favourite to make the final, and rather surprisingly for two top-five players, they've only had one previous meeting, which Zverev took on the clay in Rome a year ago without facing a single break point.

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Djokovic, who endured a turbulent last season with injury and off-court issues, said they were "both different players" now.

"There are some players - some American players, some other players - that go for the towel literally after every single point", said the 21-year-old German prodigy Zverev.

"I mean, some players literally use it as superstition".

The top four players in the world - Nadal, Federer, Djokovic and Juan Martin del Potro - had already qualified for London.

Zverev, now under the tutelage of Ivan Lendl, said he is pleased with his overall progress, even if a maiden Grand Slam remains elusive.

"Maybe thanks to Wednesday's game I won today, because I felt more calm at important moments".

Nishikori, a finalist in Tokyo last week, was forced to save five break points in the opening game of the match before eventually succumbing to the growing pressure. "It's always easier to get there - but then staying there is always the tougher part".

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