The year 2018 has been one of three parts for the legend Roger Federer. In the first six months he got three titles, including the Australian Open. The fact that he played just five tournaments in that period proved the dominance of the 20-time Grand Slam champion.
After winning at Stuttgart, his tally of career titles won stood at 98; he was expected to reach triple figures comfortably by the end of the season. But in the next four months, the Swiss Maestro's form waned with him reaching just two finals in five tournament appearances, which comprised of Wimbledon and the US Open as well. He was also knocked out in the semifinal of the Shanghai Masters in early October.
In the next month though, he sent strong signals of a return to form, winning the Swiss Indoors event at Basel. Federer also ground out Novak Djokovic in the Paris Masters semifinal, losing by a whisker without losing serve even once.
Still, Federer would've expected a better haul this season after the start he got. Here, we look at the five players who registered shocking upsets over the Swiss this season.
#5 Kei Nishikori, Round Robin - ATP Tour Finals
Federer was in great form coming into the year-ending tournament, having experienced a late surge in his level of play. He started his campaign for a 100th ATP title against Kei Nishikori in the group stage. But his game suffered a stunning downfall, as he made more than 30 unforced errors in two sets.
The World No. 3 did not lose the match because Nishikori figured his game out in the space of a month and two encounters; he lost because his quality deteriorated dramatically!
The Japanese did his part, winning a good 70% of his second serve points in the first set which involved a tiebreaker. His return game was decent and he got a good amount of balls back in the second set.
Still, you would have to acknowledge that Federer's drop in level was the major deciding factor in this result - as reinforced by Nishikori's lopsided losses in his two subsequent matches.