SHANGHAI – Top seed Roger Federer of Switzerland had to survive on Friday a late revival to beat Japan’s Kei Nishikori 6-4, 7-6 (4), earning a place in the Shanghai Open semifinal for the fifth time in his career.
The defending champion Federer put on an aggressive performance to claim his sixth win over Nishikori in their eighth career match in one hour and 51 minutes.
Federer, the 2014 Shanghai Open champion, stormed into a 2-0 lead in the first set and earned another service break in the fifth game for a 4-1 advantage.
Although Nishikori was able to break Federer’s serve in the next game to reduce the deficit to 4-2, it took the Swiss, ranked No. 2 in the world, only a few games to take the opener.
It seemed like Federer will get away with the second set when he broke Nishikori’s serve in early stages, but he conceded his own delivery in the sixth game.
Then, both players held serve, pushing the set into a tiebreak. While the Japanese player had a 4-1 advantage, the 20-time Grand Slam champion won six consecutive points to wrap up his first straight-set win in the 2018 tournament.
On his way to the quarterfinal, Federer was forced to play a decider despite taking the opener to seal a 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 win over Russia’s Daniil Medvedev in the second round and a 6-3, 2-6, 6-4 triumph against Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut in the round of 16.
Next up for Federer will be Croatia’s Borna Coric, who defeated Matthew Ebden of Australia 7-5, 6-4 earlier in the day.