BSP-25 Federer says fans inspired him to reach Shanghai quarters

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BSP-25

TENNIS-ATP-CHN-SHANGHAI-MASTERS

Federer says fans inspired him to reach Shanghai quarters

SHANGHAI, Oct 10, 2019 (BSS/AFP) – Roger Federer said that his devoted
band of Chinese supporters helped pull him through a tough first set and into
the Shanghai Masters quarter-finals on Thursday.

The Swiss defeated David Goffin 7-6 (9/7), 6-4 after the 13th seed from
Belgium squandered five set points in the first set.

The 38-year-old Federer plays either Germany’s Alexander Zverev or Andrey
Rublev of Russia in the last eight.

“I never really felt like I had the upper hand against David today,” said
the 20-time Grand Slam winner, who looked unusually flustered at times.

Federer was left shaking his head in the first set and he suffered a rare
inelegant moment in the 12th game, slipping on his own sweat — “a bit
embarrassing”, he said.

The Swiss fell awkwardly and was then broken by Goffin, 14th in the world.

But the Belgian lost his nerve despite going 3-1 up in the first-tie
break, and Federer roared back to turn the momentum in his favour.

Federer was regularly serenaded by chants of “Roger, Roger, go go go” by
local supporters all sitting together in one part of the arena. All were
decked out in red.

Federer, who failed to win a Grand Slam this year, said their backing had
been key to his revival.

“I know that if I am in trouble, they will be there to cheer me on,” he
said.

“If I look to them, or pump myself up, I know they will react to that.

“It’s definitely very special here because they all sit in one block, sort
of like in football to some extent, which is highly unusual for tennis and a
tennis tournament.”

– Perfect Djokovic –

World number one Novak Djokovic made light work of American John Isner and
plays promising 21-year-old Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece in the last eight.

The defending champion from Serbia dismissed the 16th seed Isner 7-5, 6-3
in 74 minutes after taming Isner’s booming serve.

“It’s always a big challenge returning the serve of Isner,” said Djokovic,
who is over the shoulder problem that curtailed his US Open defence.

“He’s got one of the biggest serves of all time, he’s one of the tallest
guys ever to play tennis.”

The 32-year-old Djokovic is looking imperious, having not dropped a set in
claiming the title in Tokyo last week and continuing that perfect record in
Shanghai.

Also in the last eight on Friday, colourful Italian Fabio Fognini faces
red-hot Russian Daniil Medvedev.

The fourth-ranked Medvedev was forced to sweat — and not just because of
the Shanghai heat — after being 5-2 down in the first set to Canadian
qualifier Vasek Pospisil.

The 23-year-old Medvedev eventually squeezed through 7-6 (9/7), 7-5.

“I was down five set points and 5-2 also,” said the US Open finalist, fast
making a big name for himself as the man most likely to challenge Federer,
Djokovic and Rafael Nadal.

“Usually the set is finished when it’s like this, so just try to win every
point I had to face, and finally it worked out.”

Medvedev, who has been in eight finals this year, winning three of them,
smashed his racquet as the frustration built and he threatened to boil over
in the Shanghai sun.

“I usually don’t like to break racquets because it’s never beautiful,” he
said.

The Spaniard Nadal is not in Shanghai because of a wrist injury.

BSS/AFP/BZC/2020HRS