Fri, Oct 12, 2018 - Page 16 News List

Djokovic books Shanghai quarters berth

AFP, SHANGHAI

Roger Federer returns against Roberto Bautista Agut during their match at the Shanghai Masters in China yesterday.

Photo: AFP

Novak Djokovic yesterday enjoyed a measure of revenge as he booked his spot in the Shanghai Masters quarter-finals with a 6-4, 6-0 demolition of Marco Cecchinato.

The Serbian second seed was stunned by the Italian — ranked 72nd in the world at the time — at the French Open quarter-finals this year.

It was part of the wretched run of form Djokovic went through in the first half of the year after elbow surgery in February.

However, the world No. 3 exploded back to life in the northern hemisphere summer, winning Wimbledon, the Cincinnati Masters and US Open.

The 31-year-old, who is now gunning for Rafael Nadal’s No. 1 ranking, says he is back close to the kind of blistering form that has brought him 14 Grand Slams.

He showed it against Cecchinato, bustling past the 16th seed in just under 70 minutes.

Djokovic is to play South Africa’s Kevin Anderson, who beat Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-4, 7-6 (7/1), in the quarter-finals.

Meanwhile, reigning champion Roger Federer was pushed all the way for the second match in a row before beating Roberto Bautista Agut to squeeze into the quarter-finals.

The top seed emerged from another nervy battle to eventually defeat the 28th-ranked Spaniard 6-3, 2-6, 6-4.

He faces Japanese eighth seed Kei Nishikori in the last eight.

Nishikori ousted Sam Querry 7-6 (9/7), (6-4).

The 37-year-old Federer had been forced to fight in his opening match on Wednesday, admitting that he came “very close” to defeat against Russia’s Daniil Medvedev.

Normal order appeared to have been resumed when the Swiss comfortably claimed the first set against Bautista Agut.

However, the unseeded Spaniard earned a piece of personal history after that, winning the second set — the first time he had ever done that against the Swiss maestro.

The 30-year-old Bautista Agut had the whiff of an upset in his nostrils and the prospect of a first victory over the Swiss at the eighth attempt, but in the ninth game of the deciding set, Federer made the breakthrough on his opponent’s serve, pumping his fist as another hard-won victory loomed into view.

Rising star Alexander Zverev brushed aside Australian No. 1, teenager Alex de Minaur, 6-1, 6-4.

The German fourth seed faces 11th seed Kyle Edmund, who defeated Nicolas Jarry 7-6 (7/5), 6-3.

Also advancing were Matthew Ebden, who beat Peter Gojowczyk 6-2, 6-3, and Borna Coric after Juan Martin del Potro retired after losing the first set 7-5.

Additional reporting by staff writer

TIANJIN OPEN

Staff writer

At the WTA International Tianjin Women’s Open yesterday, Katie Boulter, Timea Bacsinszky, Elise Mertens and Caroline Garcia advanced to the quarter-finals, where Hsieh Su-wei awaits. Mertens beat Jana Cepelova 6-2, 6-3 to set up a match against the Taiwanese, who have met once before, with the Belgian winning.

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