2018 Shanghai Masters, Day 3: Federer and Nishikori survive a scare, Zverev and del Potro survive cold to win
"Roger Federer is his own worst enemy." How often have we used this phrase when Federer's playing? Too many times, for sure. Federer has this innate capability of sometimes making easy matches difficult. On Day 3, at the 2018 Rolex Shanghai Masters, Federer's game went aloof all of a sudden against Daniil Medvedev. Medvedev, having won 8 matches in the last 10 days, read Federer's game well, but ultimately gave in to the Swiss Maestro's experience. Federer opened his Shanghai defence with a 6-4 4-6 6-4 win. His 3rd round challenger, Roberto Bautista Agut also came off a 3-set victory over qualifier Mackenzie McDonald, 3-6 6-4 6-1.
One of the biggest matches of the day didn't fail to entertain either. Asia's biggest male tennis player, Kei Nishikori was up against a hard-hitting and fearless 18-year old Yibing Wu. Wu was up for the task and competed exceedingly well to give Kei a run for his money. But, the London hopeful earned a hard-fought 3-6 6-0 6-3 win to stay in contention for a surprise London qualification. Nishikori finds himself drawn against Sam Querrey who beat Taylor Fritz 6-3 6-7(4) 7-5 to get 2 wins at an event only for the fifth time this year.
Meanwhile, ATP's biggest rising star Alexander Zverev struggled with an unwarranted cold and a lack of confidence against Nikoloz Basilashvili but ultimately served his way out of trouble with a 7-5 6-4 win. Zverev is visibly low on confidence and right now, just a shadow of his own from 4 months back. Australia's fastest rising teenager Alex de Minaur defeated Benoit Paire to set up a mouthwatering 3rd round clash against Zverev.
Another 6'6" giant, 3rd seeded Juan Martin del Potro, still ailing from the flu he caught in Beijing, showed immense mental strength to register his 7th straight win over Richard Gasquet. Del Potro was down 3-5 in the first set and then 2-6 in the 2nd set tiebreaker, but ultimately managed to earn a 7-5 7-6(7) win. Fun Fact: Every time he's won his opening round match in Shanghai, Del Potro has reached the semifinals.
Meanwhile, Australian Open semifinalist Hyeon Chung is yet to have a good run in any tournament since his leg injury. He was up 6-4 6-6(5-5) and 6-4 6-7(5) 6-6(4-1) but failed to convert the leads into a victory. Instead, it is Marco Cecchinato who sails to the 3rd round, setting up a rematch of French Open quarterfinal against 2nd seed Novak Djokovic.
The youngest player inside top 20, Stefanos Tsitsipas survived a strong test against fast-improving Russian Karen Khachanov to win 6-4 7-6(8). He sets up an intriguing 3rd round contest against number 7 seed Kevin Anderson. Anderson won his opener 6-3 6-2 rather comfortably against qualifier Mikhail Kukushkin.
As the 2nd round matches come to a close, some very intriguing 3rd round matches have sprung up in the draw. Alexander Zverev takes on Alex de Minaur, Juan Martin del Potro takes on Borna Coric, giant-killer Nicolas Jarry plays Kyle Edmund for a maiden Masters quarterfinal berth. And, Kevin Anderson plays Stefanos Tsitsipas in what could well prove to be the match of the day on Thursday.