Federer reaches 63rd Masters 1000 semi-final with 362nd victory at that level to move alongside Rafael Nadal
By Raz Mirza
Last Updated: 12/10/18 3:56pm
Top seed and defending champion Roger Federer was forced to dig deep once again as he beat Kei Nishikori to set up a semi-final date with Borna Coric at the Shanghai Masters.
Federer has been far from his best after tight wins over Daniil Medvedev and Roberto Bautista Agut in reaching the quarter-finals, but the 37-year-old Swiss made it through a thrilling contest 6-4 7-6 (7-4) to remain on course for his 99th ATP career singles title.
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That was absolutely breathtaking, electrifying tennis. The level was just so extraordinarily high. Nishikori really challenged Federer, the momentum was changing and he was getting more on the front foot and starting to dictate play. I honestly thought it was going to a third set there, but it’s extraordinary how Federer seems to find a way to win matches.
Annabel Croft on Roger Federer
Nishikori, a finalist in Tokyo last week, was forced to save five break points in the opening game of the match before eventually succumbing to the growing pressure.
The Japanese star fell a double break down as Federer turned on the style to open up a 4-1 lead.
Nishikori threatened to get back on level terms in the eighth game, but it was the 20-time Grand Slam champion who held on before sealing the set in 48 minutes.
Federer made an immediate breakthrough at the start of the second, but he was made to work hard to maintain his advantage as Nishikori failed to nail his opportunities until the sixth game when the two-time winner in Shanghai pulled an uncharacteristic backhand into the tramlines to hand his opponent a lifeline.
The set headed into a tie-break which Nishikori appeared to take control of, but Federer wiped out a 4-1 lead, reeling off six points in a row to secure a semi-final berth.
Highly-rated Croatian Coric, seeded 13th, made it through to the last four of an ATP World Tour Masters 1000 event for the second time after dispatching Australian Matthew Ebden 7-5 6-4.
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