Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic advance to Shanghai Masters semis

Ruben Hill
October 13, 2018

Roger Federer blazed into the Shanghai Masters semi-finals with a 6-4, 7-6 (7/4) victory over Kei Nishikori as the Swiss great's title defence belatedly caught fire on Friday.

The 37-year-old Federer was forced to battle through the first two matches of his title defence, first to Daniil Medvedev and then Roberto Bautista Agut.

Federer takes to the court second on Saturday's schedule, which has a more pleasant feel to it from a start time perspective, with this starting at 1pm United Kingdom time, after Alexander Zverev versus Novak Djokovic, which begins at 930am. "I think I can be very happy with my level of play this week". "He's good in defense now, he has a transition game now, and a solid serve".

Shanghai - Alexander Zverev weighed in on the debate about players' use of towels on Friday, saying those who wipe down after every point are "ridiculous" and do it for superstition, not sweat.

Serbian second seed Djokovic, who could move above Federer into second in the world rankings, beat South Africa's Kevin Anderson in a rematch of this year's Wimbledon final.

"It was a different surface", Djokovic said of their previous match.

Anderson had a chance to take an early lead against Djokovic, but he overhit a forehand on set point in the 12th game of the match.

"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 do make his market price a touch short, but not hugely so - there are just a few ticks to quibble over - and therefore I can't recommend to take any pre-match position on this.

"It's going to be definitely a close match".

Zverev is the fifth player to qualify for the season-ending tournament in London, joining Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Juan Martin del Potro in the eight-player field.

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

Anderson, striving to secure an ATP Finals spot, fended off a first break point of the match before holding to take a 3-2 lead and was on the brink of claiming the first set after exerting pressure on the Djokovic serve at 6-5.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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