Flawless Federer outclasses Nishikori

Defending Champion Roger Federer outlasted Kei Nishikori in the quarter-finals of the Shanghai Masters on Friday.

The Swiss Ace was all class, creating angles and firing winners from all over the court as he defeated Nishikori 6-4, 7-6(4) on the hard courts of the Chinese city.

Nishikori didn’t do much wrong under the lights in Shanghai, but struggled to find an answer to Federer’s precision and creativity, which earned him 43 winners for the match.

Federer was on top from the get go, forcing Nishikori to save four breakpoints in the very first game before he eventually took advantage of the fifth to go a break up.

The top seed broke Nishikori again to go 4-1 up, but the Japanese native recorded somewhat to reduce the deficit to 4-3 after a break and a strong hold. It mattered little though, as Federer served out the set.

However, Nishikori managed to turn things around in the second set. He came back from a break down to level matters at 4-4 and the duo gave the late night crowd plenty to cheer with some superlative tennis as they traded service games until the tiebreaker.

Nishikori was 16-2 for tiebreakers in 2018 heading into it, but none of them had come against Federer. Sure enough, the 20-time grand slam champion showed his pedigree by reeling off the final six points of the match, leaving a bemused Nishikori gazing into the Shanghai skies.  

The victory books Federer a semi-final date with Borna Coric – 15 years his junior – who defeated Australian hopeful Matthew Ebden 7-5, 6-4 earlier in the day. Federer leads their head-to-head 2-1, but lost to the talented Croatian in three sets at the final in Halle in June.