Swiss champ con­quers Rus­sian

Shanghai Daily - - SPORTS - Ma Yue TEN­NIS

DE­FEND­ING cham­pion and top-seeded Roger Fed­erer be­gan his cam­paign at Rolex Shang­hai Mas­ters with a hard­fought se­cond-round match, con­quer­ing red-hot Rus­sian Daniil Medvedev 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 late last night.

The play­ers both took a set each and were level at 4-4 in the de­cider be­fore the Swiss broke his op­po­nent in the ninth game to take a 5-4 lead. The 20 times Grand Slam cham­pion then held his nerve to hold serve and sealed vic­tory with the first of his two match points.

“It was ex­tremely dif­fi­cult,” Fed­erer said. “It was a good fight. Medvedev showed why he is so high in the rank­ing. I tried a bit of ev­ery­thing later in the match, like com­ing to the net, etc. Now that I’m still in the tour­na­ment, it’s a re­lief.”

Fed­erer will next take on Spain’s Roberto Bautista Agut in the third round.

In an ear­lier se­cond-round match, Kei Nishikori came back from one set down to beat China wild­card Wu Yib­ing 3-6, 6-0, 6-3 on Qizhong Ten­nis Cen­ter’s cen­ter court.

Wu, who earned a first ATP World Tour win of his ca­reer over fel­low Chi­nese wild­card Li Zhe on Mon­day, started strongly when tak­ing on the tour­na­ment’s eighth seed yes­ter­day.

Af­ter be­ing bro­ken in the third game of the first set, Wu broke back in the fourth and eighth game to take a 5-3 lead be­fore tak­ing the first set 6-3 in his next serv­ing game. How­ever, Wu’s ag­gres­sive style cost him in the se­cond set and Nishikori pun­ished him to level the con­test by tak­ing the se­cond set 6-0.

Nishikori broke Wu in the sixth game of the de­cid­ing set to take a 4-2 lead. The home crowd tried to rally Wu but he couldn’t pre­vent his Ja­panese op­po­nent from sealing the vic­tory with the se­cond of his three match points.

“I was very sur­prised at how he played in the first set, good serves and solid fore­hand and back­hand,” Nishikori said. “It was like a world top 20 per­for­mance for me, and I could not do any­thing. I thought about los­ing the match, but I tried to fo­cus on play­ing my own ten­nis, while he dropped his level a bit and I man­aged to catch up.”

“He was right (about a top 20 per­for­mance),” said Wu, who turns 19 on Sun­day. “He strength­ened the depth of the ball, and is also ma­ture in front of the net. This was a pre­cious op­por­tu­nity for me to play against him. I did study him be­fore the match. But I did not do well in lat­ter part of the con­test.

“Though he said he ‘could not do any­thing’ in the first set, but a top player like him still man­aged to find a so­lu­tion in that kind of sit­u­a­tion, and this is some­thing I have to learn from him.”

This is Wu’s third home tour­na­ment in a row in af­ter com­pet­ing at Chengdu and Zhangji­a­gang. He is cur­rently world No. 415. His best rank­ing was 299.

“I re­ally en­joy play­ing at home tour­na­ments,” said Wu. “When­ever I lose con­cen­tra­tion, the cheers from fans would urge me to keep play­ing hard. Peo­ple all say that I’m a tal­ented player, and my coach has been telling me to think in­de­pen­dently. I tried to put on more mus­cle dur­ing win­ter train­ing, but it just seems hard to get ab­dom­i­nal mus­cles, which was the same case with my fa­ther (when he was a boxer).”

In the ear­lier matches, fourth seed Alexan­der Zverev from Ger­many ousted in-form Nikoloz Basi­lashvili 7-5, 6-4, and called the Geor­gian ‘the hard­est-hit­ting player’ he had ever played against.

“I played an op­po­nent who has a lot of con­fi­dence. Ob­vi­ously he is play­ing the best ten­nis of life and won (the China Open) in Bei­jing,” said Zverev, who suf­fered an early exit in Bei­jing last week.

The 21-year-old world No.5 will next take on the world No. 33 Alex de Min­aur from Aus­tralia.

Third seed Juan Martin del Potro did not have an easy time in his se­cond-round match against French­man Richard Gas­quet, who broke him early in the open­ing set. The Ar­gen­tine man­aged to find his rhythm to come from be­hind in both sets to win the match 7-5, 7-6 (7). He faces 13th seed Borna Coric from Croa­tia next.

In other matches, sev­enth seed Kevin An­der­son from South Africa beat Kaza­khstan’s Mikhail Kukushkin 6-3, 6-2. Tenth seed Ste­fanos Tsit­si­pas from Greece over­came Rus­sia’s Karen Khachanov 6-4, 7-6 (8). Kyle Ed­mund, seeded 11, from Bri­tain saw off Italy’s An­dreas Seppi 6-3, 6-4.

Wu Yib­ing re­turns against Kei Nishikori in the men’s sin­gles se­cond round at the Rolex Shang­hai Mas­ters tour­na­ment at Qizhong Ten­nis Cen­ter yes­ter­day. — AFP

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