Code violations, aggressive behaviour and a point penalty for unsportsmanlike behaviour – it won’t be an aberration to say that Roger Federer had an off day at the ongoing Shanghai Masters on Friday. Federer was given a point penalty before he followed Novak Djokovic on his way out of Shanghai Masters after losing a bad-tempered quarterfinal match against Alexander Zverev. The lanky German stunned the Swiss legend 6-3, 6-7(7), 6-3 to book a place in the last four of the ATP Masters 1000 tournament.
During the match, Federer was penalised after twice hitting the ball out the court in anger. From playing nearly flawless tennis on the Asian swing so far to being unbelievably beaten, Djokovic and Federer, who boast off a combined 13-0 record in Shanghai failed to advance into the semifinals on Friday. Djokovic had been 8-0 in quarterfinal matches at the Shanghai Masters, and won four titles. Federer, who has won the title twice in Shanghai had been 5-0 in quarters.
Federer saved five match points in the second set and received a point penalty in the third before losing to the fifth-seed Zverev. Meanwhile, Djokovic, the reigning champion, squandered the first set advantage and lost to Stefanos Tsitsipas 3-6, 7-5, 6-3. After upsetting the world number one in the quarters, Tsitsipas made a big statement and said he scares the “Big Three” (Federer, Rafael Nadal and Djokovic).
The 21-year-old has now defeated Djokovic, Federer and Rafael Nadal this year to burnish his fast-growing reputation. On Saturday though he faces Daniil Medvedev — who he has never beaten. Tsitsipas also earned a place at the year-end ATP Finals for the first time in his career.
On the other hand, Zverev will next take on Austria’s Dominic Thiem or Matteo Berrettini of Italy in the men’s singles semifinals.
The 20-time Grand Slam champion Federer saved five match points to force a deciding set, but he then became engaged in a continual war of words with the chair umpire. Federer’s trademark cool evaded him as the new generation of men’s tennis stars took centre stage in Shanghai.
After the match, the 38-year-old Federer congratulated the younger generation for stepping up in big tournaments and congratulated Zverev on the victory. “I mean, they’re knocking on the door big time, the young guys,” Federer said. “It’s exciting. They’re great. It’s really open now, I think, for the finish of this tournament.”
Earlier, the Serbian great also showered words of praise for the 21-year-old Tsitsipas – “He deserved the victory”. “He was the better player in the second and third sets. I started well in the first set, but I wasn’t sharp enough,” Djokovic said after the match.
In other men’s singles semifinal, the in-form Medvedev beat Fabio Fognini 6-3, 7-6 (4) in another exciting battle in Shanghai. Prior to Friday’s match, Fognini said Medvedev was one of the most dangerous players to face.