Djokovic gets re­venge to make quar­ters

Fed­erer forced to bat­tle again in win at Shang­hai Mas­ters

Global Times - - Sports -

No­vak Djokovic en­joyed a mea­sure of re­venge as he booked his spot in the quar­ter­fi­nals with a 6-4, 6-0 de­mo­li­tion of Marco Cecchi­nato in the Shang­hai Mas­ters on Thurs­day.

The Ser­bian sec­ond seed was stunned by the Ital­ian – ranked 72nd in the world at the time – in the French Open quar­ter­fi­nals ear­lier this year.

It was part of a wretched run of form Djokovic suf­fered in the first half of the year after el­bow surgery in Fe­bru­ary.

But the world No.3 ex­ploded back to life mid-sea­son, win­ning Wim­ble­don, the Cincin­nati Mas­ters and US Open.

The 31-year-old, who is now gun­ning for Rafael Nadal’s No.1 rank­ing, says he is back close to the kind of blis­ter­ing form that has brought him 14 Grand Slams.

And he proved it against Cecchi­nato, bustling past the 16th seed in just un­der 70 min­utes.

Djokovic will play South Africa’s sev­enth seed Kevin An­der­son.

Reign­ing cham­pion Roger Fed­erer was pushed all the way for the sec­ond match in a row be­fore beat­ing Roberto Bautista Agut to squeeze into the quar­ter­fi­nals.

The top seed and 20-time Grand Slam win­ner emerged from an­other nervy bat­tle to even­tu­ally de­feat the 28thranked Spaniard 6-3, 2-6, 6-4.

He will play the Ja­panese eighth seed Kei Nishikori in the last eight.

The 37-year-old Fed­erer had been forced to fight in his open­ing match on Wed­nes­day, ad­mit­ting that he came “very close” to de­feat against Rus­sia’s Daniil Medvedev.

Nor­mal or­der ap­peared to have been re­sumed when the Swiss com­fort­ably claimed the first set against Bautista Agut.

But the un­seeded Spaniard earned a piece of per­sonal his­tory after that, win­ning the sec­ond set – the first time he had ever done that against the Swiss mae­stro.

The 30-year-old Bautista Agut had the whiff of an up­set in his nos­trils and the prospect of a first vic­tory over the Swiss at the eighth at­tempt.

But in the ninth game of the de­cid­ing set, Fed­erer made the break­through on his op­po­nent’s serve, pump­ing his fist as an­other hard-won vic­tory loomed into view.

Ris­ing star Alexan­der Zverev was sim­i­larly em­phatic as he brushed aside Aus­tralia’s new No.1, teenager Alex de Min­aur, 6-1, 6-4.

The Ger­man fourth seed will face 11th seed Kyle Ed­mund in the last eight.

The 21-year-old Zverev was ruth­less as he took the first set in just 29 min­utes, al­though his 19-year-old op­po­nent showed more fight in the sec­ond.

Zverev has been suf­fer­ing with a cold but ratch­eted up the pres­sure to grab the al­limpor­tant break of serve in the ninth game be­fore clos­ing out the match against De Min­aur.

Photo: AFP

No­vak Djokovic reaches for a back­hand against Marco Cecchi­nato at the Shang­hai Mas­ters on Thurs­day.

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