Friday, 16 November, 2018

Shanghai Masters Day Seven: Federer again unlikely to win easily

Federer added his voice to the debate around the new-format Davis Cup when quizzed after beating Roberto Bautista Agut to reach the Shanghai quarter-finals Shanghai Masters Day Seven: Federer again unlikely to win easily
Frederick Owens | 13 October, 2018, 22:54

But the 21-year-old, who has only two career titles to his name, will need to be at his very best when he faces Djokovic in Sunday's final after the Serb thrashed Alexander Zverev 6-2 6-1, leapfrogging Federer to No 2 in the world rankings.

Djokovic said that he was relishing facing "top player" Zverev after the 14-time Grand Slam champion beat Kevin Anderson 7-6 (7/1), 6-3.

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

Top seed Federer plays 13th seed Borna Coric of Croatia in the other semi-final.

He is desperate to take injured Rafael Nadal's number one spot before the year is out, and on this evidence, he will.

Coric overpowered Federer in the shortest points and he stood stronger in the longer exchanges (21-11) to earn his win fair and square, hoping for more of the same against an in-form Djokovic in the title match.

"I feel like I'm explosive out there, returning well", he added. The fourth seed, who is yet to win a Grand Slam despite his undoubted talent, angrily threw his racquet at the start of the second set as Djokovic ramped up the pressure.

Djokovic saved set point in the opener before taking control of the tie break and the second set to dump out the South African seventh seed.

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"I think, quite similar in style of play to today's match".

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

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.

In the last 12 months on hard court, Djokovic has held serve 2.0% more, doing so 87.5% to 85.5%, and broken opponents 3.5% more, too, with a 29.4% break opponent figure, compared to Zverev's 25.9%, and this data does give him a solid edge for tomorrow. "It's going to be definitely a close match".

Zverev, now under the tutelage of Ivan Lendl, said he is pleased with his overall progress, even if a maiden Grand Slam remains elusive. I think he had more punch on the ball.

Federer has not been at his best all week, dropping sets in the two opening matches of his wobbly title defence.

"It's always easier to get there - but then staying there is always the tougher part".

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