Fed­erer does fam­ily proud to bat­tle into quar­ters

‘I hope it’s go­ing to help me that I played against Medvedev and also Bautista Agut, two re­ally good base­lin­ers. From that stand­point, I feel like I found a rhythm’

Gulf Times Sport - - FRONT PAGE -

Roger Fed­erer said that he did not want to lose in front of his young fam­ily as he was pushed all the way for the sec­ond match in a row at the Shang­hai Mas­ters yes­ter­day.

The reign­ing cham­pion squeezed into the quar­ter-fi­nals af­ter even­tu­ally de­feat­ing the 28th-ranked Spa­niard Roberto Bautista Agut 6-3, 2-6, 6-4.

The top seed will play Ja­pan’s eighth seed Kei Nishikori, while No­vak Djokovic and Alexan­der Zverev are also through, al­beit with far less has­sle.

The 37-year-old Swiss great was forced to fight in his open­ing match on Wed­nes­day against Rus­sia’s Daniil Medvedev.

Nor­mal or­der ap­peared to have been re­stored when the 20-time Grand Slam cham­pion com­fort­ably claimed the first set against Bautista Agut.

But the Spa­niard earned a piece of per­sonal his­tory af­ter that, win­ning the sec­ond set – the first time he had taken a set 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.

Fed­erer’s wife Mirka and their four chil­dren were in the arena and he said af­ter­wards: “I’m not sure if they give me more courage fight­ing on court, but they were here to­day.

“I was telling my­self, par­tic­u­larly tonight I can­not do this (lose) be­cause they were there, but I don’t know how much I draw from that, quite hon­estly.”

Fed­erer said that two stern en­coun­ters had set him up nicely for Nishikori on Fri­day.

“I hope it’s go­ing to help me that I played against Medvedev and also Bautista Agut, two re­ally good base­lin­ers.

“From that stand­point, I feel like I found a rhythm.”

DELPO IN­JURY WOE

One player who will not be in the quar­ter-fi­nals is Juan Martin del Potro af­ter he hob­bled out of the tour­na­ment.

The Ar­gen­tine world num­ber

four, who had al­ready been suf­fer­ing with a virus, lost his foot­ing at 5-5 in the first set against Croa­tia’s Borna Coric.

The 30-year-old Del Potro had lengthy treat­ment and

strap­ping put on his knee, but con­ceded the match af­ter los­ing the first set 7-5. Coric, the 13th seed, faces Aus­tralia’s un­seeded Matthew Eb­den next

Sec­ond seed Djokovic en­joyed

a mea­sure of re­venge as he booked his spot in the quar­ter­fi­nals with a 6-4, 6-0 de­mo­li­tion of Marco Cecchi­nato.

The Ser­bian was stunned by the Ital­ian – ranked 72 in the world at the time – in the French Open quar­ter-fi­nals ear­lier this year.

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

But he ex­ploded back to life mid-sea­son, win­ning Wim­ble­don, the Cincin­nati Mas­ters and US Open.

The 31-year-old says he is back close to the kind of blis­ter­ing form that has brought him 14 Grand Slams.

Djokovic will play South Africa’s sev­enth seed Kevin An­der­son and said he was ar­row­ing in on Rafael Nadal’s top rank­ing. The Spa­niard is not in Shang­hai due to in­jury.

“Ob­vi­ously, I’m go­ing to try to do ev­ery­thing I can to get to num­ber one,” said Djokovic.

“That’s one of the – prob­a­bly the – big­gest goal of the end of the sea­son.”

Ris­ing star Zverev was sim­i­larly em­phatic as he brushed aside Aus­tralian teenager Alex de Min­aur, 6-1, 6-4.

The Ger­man fourth seed will next play 11th seed Kyle Ed­mund.

(AFP)

Switzer­land’s Roger Fed­erer cel­e­brates af­ter win­ning against Spain’s Roberto Bautista Agut dur­ing their third round match at the Shang­hai Mas­ters yes­ter­day.

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