Shanghai Rolex Masters 2018: Roger Federer Battles Through in Thursday Matches

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistOctober 11, 2018

Switzerland's Roger Federer reacts after winning a point against Spain's Roberto Bautista Agut during their men's singles third round match at the Shanghai Masters tennis tournament on October 11, 2018. (Photo by WANG ZHAO / AFP)        (Photo credit should read WANG ZHAO/AFP/Getty Images)
WANG ZHAO/Getty Images

For the second day in a row, Roger Federer came through a gruelling match at the Shanghai Masters, as he beat Roberto Bautista Agut in three sets on Thursday.

The top seed and defending champion lost his way in the second set after coasting to the first, but he upped his levels in the decider when it mattered, eventually coming through 6-3, 2-6, 6-4 to move into the quarter-finals.

Earlier in the day, Novak Djokovic turned on the style to ensure his safe progression, while fourth seed Alexander Zverev was also a straightforward winner. Third seed Juan Martin del Potro is out, though, as he retired due to injury against Borna Coric after losing the first set.

Here are the results from Shanghai and a closer look at the highlights from Thursday's play.

    

Thursday Results

(1) Roger Federer bt. Roberto Bautista Agut, 6-3, 2-6, 6-4

(2) Novak Djokovic bt. Marco Cecchinato, 6-4, 6-0

(13) Borna Coric bt. Juan Martin del Potro, 7-5, retired

(4) Alexander Zverev bt. Alex de Minaur, 6-1, 6-4

(7) Kevin Anderson bt. Stefanos Tsitsipas, 6-4, 7-6 (1)

(8) Kei Nishikori bt. Sam Querrey, 7-6 (7), 6-4

(11) Kyle Edmund bt. Nicolas Jarry, 7-6 (5), 6-3

Matthew Ebden bt. Peter Gojowczyk, 6-2, 6-3

      

Friday Schedule

(11) Kyle Edmund vs. (4) Alexander Zverev

(7) Kevin Anderson vs. (2) Novak Djokovic

(13) Borna Coric vs. Matthew Ebden

(1) Roger Federer vs. (8) Kei Nishikori

      

Federer Fights Through Again

Switzerland's Roger Federer hits a return against Spain's Roberto Bautista Agut during their men's singles third round match at the Shanghai Masters tennis tournament on October 11, 2018. (Photo by WANG ZHAO / AFP)        (Photo credit should read WANG ZH
WANG ZHAO/Getty Images

In the early exchanges, Federer played some sparkling tennis and put the first set in the bank with minimal fuss.

However, a day on from losing his focus in the second set against Daniil Medvedev, more complacency crept into his game again. After breaking in the first game of the set, Federer lost the next four in a row, allowing Bautista Agut to take control of the stanza.

Per Record's Jose Morgado, his work with the ball in hand was well short of his usual standards:

That trend continued, as the Spaniard broke Federer again to take the second set 6-2, pushing the veteran into yet another three-set encounter.

However, just as he did on Wednesday, Federer found a break in the ninth game of the final set and was able to serve the match out. 

Djokovic was clearly pumped up for his match on Thursday, as Cecchinato famously sprung a surprise to knock the Serb out of the French Open earlier this year.

As early as the third game of the match, Djokovic showed his passion, as he smashed his racket after a call went against him. Still, he was able to get through that testing spell, secure a break and eventually the set.

From that point on the Italian was unable to cope with the Wimbledon and U.S. Open champion, as he elevated his game to a level Cecchinato was unable to match:

Next up for Djokovic is a repeat of the Wimbledon final, as he will take on Kevin Anderson, who has also been impressive at this tournament so far.

Del Potro's hopes of winning the title are over, though, as he was forced to retire from his showdown with Coric after losing the first set 7-5.

George Bellshaw of Metro detailed how the third seed picked up a knee problem:

Here's the moment he decided enough was enough:

Also into the quarter-finals is Zverev, as he outclassed new Australian No. 1 Alex de Minaur in their match. The German will face Kyle Edmund in the last eight in what has all the makings of an intriguing encounter.

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