Alexander Zverev reached the eighth Masters 1000 semi-final in Shanghai two years ago, his first in 12 months. The German beat former champion Roger Federer 6-3, 6-7, 6-3 in two hours and four minutes, ranking seventh in the ATP Race after playing well in Beijing and Shanghai.
Zverev fired 17 aces and faced just three break points in the entire match, suffered two breaks and stole Roger’s serve four times to advance and stay on track for the title. Zverev was the dominant player on the court with 43 winners and 23 unforced errors, having a clear advantage in the shorter exchanges and controlling the pace in the sets that he won.
The match could have ended in straight sets, with five match points wasted by the youngest player in the final stages of the second set, instantly leaving them behind and dominating the decisive one to topple a great rival and score crucial points in a battle for London.
. With 78% service, Alexander had the lead in the first set, giving up three points on serve and hitting 11 winners and six unforced errors to put pressure on Federer, who couldn’t take it. They produced eight dominant service at-bats, and Zverev won a break at 3-2 with deep returns that took Federer off pace.
Alexander forged the lead and closed the set with four winners at 5-3 after just 27 minutes. They traded breaks in games two and three in set two and delivered seven easy serve at-bats to stay level at 5-5, with no room for error for Roger in the remaining games.
Serving in that 11th game, Federer suffered a break after Zverev’s forehand, and the German had a chance to seal the deal in about 70 minutes. It wasn’t going to be for him at the time, though, as he blew three match points in the twelfth game and broke down after some incredible volleys from Roger, who leveled the score at 6-6 to establish a tie break.
Federer couldn’t play much tennis in 2021
Roger Federer’s coach Ivan Ljubicic recently claimed that the Swiss is unlikely to feature in the 2022 Australian Open as he is “still recovering” from a third knee surgery.
Ljubicic also stressed that Federer wants to be 100% fit before he returns to the court, and that he will only play if he believes he can contend for the title. “I think there are very few chances [Federer will play in Australia in January],” Ljubicic said.
“He is still recovering, and knowing him, he wants to be sure he can play to win the tournament and be at 100%. So I think the Australian Open is not a real possibility right now,” Ljubicic added. “But he will go step by step because he is 40 years old now and he needs to be patient. He cannot recover as quickly as he used to.”