Roger Federer joins Novak Djokovic in facing off against one of the top next gen players for a spot in the semi-finals of Shanghai. He renews his rivalry with Alexander Zverev, hoping to move to 4-2 in the head to head against the German.
Tiebreaks have been the story of Zverev’s tournament so far, with three of his four won sets coming in them so far. After winning two in his opener against Jeremy Chardy, it was two contrasting sets as the German took the match 6-0 7-6. Zverev is still comfortably inside the top 10 but has had some disappointing losses in key matches throughout the year. “I think it was very good tennis, but I know against Roger it’s going to be very, very difficult. He’s going to try to do different things, and it’s going to be a difficult match,” Zverev said.
Federer had one of his tougher matches against David Goffin, needing to save five set points in the first set before going on to win in straight sets 7-6 6-4. He found it tough at times as Goffin remained aggressive and pressed the issue against Federer. Stealing that set proved to be key for Federer, who was under the cosh for large parts of it. “It was really him that was able to, I don’t want to say dictate play, but I think he was very clear in his shot selection, when to do what also in terms of the scoreline. I thought he took really a lot of good decisions, and he was super fast on his feet today, which I think made it really hard for me to get my freebies and winners off the baseline, because he was getting to all of them,” Federer said. “It was a really tough match today. I think that first set maybe ended up being key.”
Zverev beating Federer in the Montreal final two years ago was one of the matches that showed the German was ready to stick around at the top for a long time. He hasn’t quite managed to move to the next level yet but has played Federer tough in the past and could well spring another shock if he serves well. Federer may not be so lucky with his next bad set.
Prediction – Alexander Zverev in three sets