Shanghai Masters 2018 Day 5: Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, Alexander Zverev, Borna Coric enter semi-finals
The top seeds were expected to survive potential scares, but each one of them put on encouraging performances on Day 5 of the Shanghai Masters 2018. Roger Federer stole the limelight with an incredible straight-set win over Kei Nishikori, but Novak Djokovic and Alexander Zverev impressed as well.
There was a huge shadow of doubt over his game after his first two matches, but when it mattered, Roger Federer came up with all the goods. Kei Nishikori was expected to be a tough nut to crack and, for the most part, he was.
But, Federer's brilliance ensured a 6-4, 7-6(4) win inside a packed Center Court. Federer found his game early in the match and despite a few uncharacteristic errors and weak second serves, he cruised to a record-tying 362nd Masters match win, setting up a rematch of the Halle final against Borna Coric in the semi-finals.
Coric maintained his fine form this year, as he dispatched Matthew Ebden's offensive brand of tennis 7-5, 6-4, courtesy a gritty game. His change of forehand technique has paid off well and he is getting the much-needed results now. The win over Ebden ensures his debut inside the top-15 of ATP rankings.
Also, with the win, Coric became the fifth Croatian male to make multiple Masters 1000 semi-finals, after Goran Prpic, Goran Ivanisevic, Ivan Ljubicic, and Marin Cilic.
In the morning session, 4th seed Alexander Zverev started the day's play brilliantly, carrying on from his performance against Alex de Minaur. Courtesy a brutal serving performance, Zverev coasted to a 4th win over British Kyle Edmund, 6-4, 6-4 in just 71 minutes.
The win made Zverev the youngest ever Shanghai Masters semi-finalist, just a day after he became the youngest ever quarter-finalist. Zverev's win also meant that he qualified for the 2018 ATP Finals, following in the footsteps of Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, and Juan Martin del Potro.
Up against Zverev in the semi-final, will be the man of the moment, Novak Djokovic. The latter is chasing lots of records in his pursuit of a year-ending number 1 rank. And, he elevated his game just at the right moment against South Africa's Kevin Anderson to reach a 62nd Masters 1000 semi-final.
Djokovic faced a break point on his serve at 5-6(30-40) in the first set, but managed to serve it out and ruthlessly take the game away from Anderson in the tie-breaker, which he won 7-1. Once the tie-breaker got out of the way, Djokovic looked even more ruthless to post a 7-6(1), 6-3 win.
It appears that the semi-finals have a mighty impressive line-up. Alexander Zverev will take on Novak Djokovic in a rematch of their 2017 Rome Masters final. Djokovic has already exacted his revenge upon Marco Cecchinato and will be eager to do the same on Zverev.
But, it won't be as easy with Zverev serving more monstrously with every passing set. In the other semi-final, top seed Roger Federer will be up against his Halle conqueror Borna Coric, both of whom showed immense resilience during their respective quarter-final outings.