On a day when all four quarterfinal matches were decided in straight sets, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic moved one step closer to a Sunday final showdown in Shanghai.
After two straight 3-set matches, the defending champion Federer needed only two sets today against Kei Nishikori with a 6-4, 7-6(4).
“It was a tough match. Obviously Kei hogs the baseline much more than Medvedev did or also what did. I think it was a different type of match,” said Federer who improved to 6-2 against the Japanese star. “I was very happy with the beginning of the match, to be quite honest. I played quite great there. Then the second set was key moments who was going to play a little bit better. Kei really tried to step it up one more time. I somehow got it done, so I was very pleased.”
Federer will meet Borna Coric in his semifinal on Saturday. Coric continued his nice run making his second career Masters semifinal behind a 7-5, 6-4 victory over Matthew Ebden.
Federer beat Coric this year in the Croat’s only previous Masters semifinal appearance at Indian Wells and leads overall 2-1. But Coric won a nailbiter most recently in Halle in June.
“He’s also really improved his game, stepping up in the court and hitting through the shots more than what he used to,” Federer said of Coric. “I think it’s going to be tough. He’s good in defence. He has a transition game now too, and he’s got a solid serve. He’s had a good tournament here again. I have always played him when he’s playing well.”
The second semifinal will pit the red-hot 3-time winner Novak Djokovic against Alexander Zverev. Djokovic ran his win streak to 16 straight after beating Kevin Anderson 7-6(1), 6-3 in a rematch of their Wimbledon final.
“I faced one [break point] today, and it was a set point,” said Djokovic. “I managed to pull through that one, and I haven’t lost too many points on my serve. So I think that’s a part of my game that maybe is undervalued in a way. But that helps me obviously when I have an opportunity to step in on a second serve or swing through in the baseline points.
“The conditions are very quick, so holding your serve comfortably is probably the key.”
Zverev advanced to his first Shanghai semifinal upending Kyle Edmund 6-4, 6-4. He won the only prior meeting with Djokovic in the Rome final.
“He has improved a lot, and he has established himself as a top player,” said Djokovic of Zverev. “It’s going to be definitely a close match. I think, quite similar in style of the play to today’s match. Kevin is a big server, big hitter from the back of the court, really aggressive, tall. Sascha is similar to that. In these kind of conditions, everything happens so quickly, so I kind of have to be alert, in a way, and very focused from the very first point. Try to get as many serves back in play as I have done today. I thought I returned well, and that was probably one of the keys of the match.”
The win by Zverev also put him into the ATP Finals.
“I put it close to equal as a Grand Slam, actually. It’s probably one of the most prestigious events that we have, because to get there, you have to be one of the best eight players in the world,” Zverev said of qualifying. “Just being a part of it, just playing there is already an honour itself. It’s close to, or it’s maybe equal to winning a Grand Slam, and I think other players will tell you the same thing, because just to be there, you obviously play well throughout the whole year.”
SATURDAY SHANGHAI SCHEDULE
CENTER Starts At 1:30 Pm
3 Lukasz Kubot/Marcelo Melo v 2 Oliver Marach/Mate Pavic
Not Before 4:30 Pm
4 Alexander Zverev v 2 Novak Djokovic
Not Before 8:00 Pm
1 Roger Federer v 13 Borna Coric
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