Shanghai | Zverev survives a late fightback
No major upsets as the Shanghai Masters reached the quarter-final stage with all the winners progressing in relative ease.
The 5th seed and last year’s semi-finalist, Alexander Zverev reached his 14th quarter-final at Masters 1000 level by taking out Andrey Rublev after nearly throwing away victory following his initial domination of the Russian.
The third round clash had two phases with the German brushing aside his opponent in the first set and then stood on the verge of victory a 5-2 only for Rublev to suddenly wake up, recover his poise to level and force a tiebreak where Zverev finally completed after 84-minutes, what should have been a comfortable victory, 6-0 7-6(4).
Zverev finished the match with 32 winners and 28 unforced errors, hitting 17 aces and fending off five of seven break chances Rublev created.
Dominic Thiem is also through after toppling Nikoloz Basilashvili 6-3 6-4 in 77-minutes. Both players made more unforced errors than winners but Thiem held the upper hand at the crucial moments, losing serve twice and earning four breaks to forge ahead.
In the longest match of the day, Stefanos Tsitsipas required two hours and 13-minnutes to secure a hard-fought 7-5 3-6 7-6(5) victory over Hubert Hurkacz. The Pole gave his utmost to cause an upset and set up a meeting with Novak Djokovic, coming close to the finishing line only to fail at the crucial moment leaving the Greek to take on the world number one.
That win also secures Tsitsipas a place in the season ending Nitto ATP Finals at the O2 in London.
Djokovic in the interim had overcome the 6’10” hurdle which is John Isner, negating the American’s huge serve to progress as expected, into the last eight 7-5 6-3.
The Serb seemed to have tweaked something in his arm during the match to cause some concern, but he was quick to allay any fears of problems after the match.
Meanwhile Daniil Mededev, Djokovic’s likely opponent in the semi-finals, survived a testing match against Vasek Pospisil, a Canadian qualifier, 7-6(7) 7-5 and faces Fabio Fognini in the last eight, the Italian seeded 10, having upset the higher ranked Karen Khachanov, the 7th seed,, 6-3 7-5.
Also though are Matteo Berrettinni who defeated Roberto Bautista Agut 7-6(5) 6-4 and Roger Federer, who eventually dispatched the nimble David Goffin 7-6(7) 6-4 after saving three set points in the opening set.