Federer fires to join Djokovic in Shanghai semis

Bautista-Agut and Federer. Image GettyMore

Bautista-Agut and Federer. Image GettyMore

Roger Federer produced a vintage performance as he overcame a determined Kei Nishikori to reach the semi-finals of the Shanghai Masters.

The Swiss, aiming for his first Masters title since winning this event previous year, will play Croatia's 19th-ranked Borna Coric in Saturday's semi-finals.

Two rivals had played five times against each other in 2014 and Shanghai was another stop in their rivalry, with Federer scoring a 6-4 6-4 win in an hour and 36 minutes for another final at this event. "So you see, two sets sometimes doesn't tell the truth".

Interestingly, though, that match did have very close data - Federer had eight break points on return, compared to six for Nishikori - while only winning 52% of points in the match, a very low figure for a straight-set victory.

Serving for the place in the final in game 10, Roger fired three winners and it was all over when he forced an error from Novak's backhand (he was pushing the Serb's left wing during the entire match) to notch his 11th triumph over Djokovic in 17 matches so far.

Federer finished the match with 10 aces and landed an impressive 71 percent of his first serves.

Novak is a three-time Shanghai champion but he is yet to solve Federer riddle on these fast hard courts and win a set against the Swiss.

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The 37-year-old will next face Croatian power-hitter Borna Coric, who dumped Australia's Matthew Ebden out of the tournament 7-5 6-4.

In the last 12 months on hard court, Djokovic has held serve 2.0% more, doing so 87.5% to 85.5%, and broken opponents 3.5% more, too, with a 29.4% break opponent figure, compared to Zverev's 25.9%, and this data does give him a solid edge for tomorrow.

"I think he raised his tennis level in the second set and I knew there would be long points".

I do make his market price a touch short, but not hugely so - there are just a few ticks to quibble over - and therefore I can't recommend to take any pre-match position on this.

Djokovic, who endured a turbulent last season with injury and off-court issues, said they were "both different players" now.

"But also, he has improved a lot, and he has established himself as a top player".

The top four players in the world - Nadal, Federer, Djokovic and Juan Martin del Potro - had already qualified for London. "I wasn't, I feel like, playing as well as I'm playing today". A service victor confirmed the break for Federer and he hit another one at 2-1 to stay ahead and keep the pressure on Djokovic who couldn't endure it, getting broken again in game five after a smash victor from Roger to find himself 4-1 down.

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