Shanghai Flashback: Alexander Zverev sinks Roger Federer to boost London chances

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Shanghai Flashback: Alexander Zverev sinks Roger Federer to boost London chances

The 5th seed Alexander Zverev reached the eighth Masters 1000 semi-final in Shanghai last year, the first in 12 months. The German ousted a former champion Roger Federer 6-3, 6-7, 6-3 in two hours and four minutes, moving into seventh place in the ATP Race after playing well in Beijing and Shanghai.

The German fired 17 aces and faced only three break points in the entire clash, suffering two breaks and stealing Roger's serve four times to move over the top and stay on the title course. Zverev was the dominant player on the court with 43 winners and 23 unforced errors, having a clear advantage in the shortest exchanges and controlling the pace in sets he won.

The match could have ended in straight sets, with five match points that the German wasted in the final stages of the second set, leaving them behind instantly and dominating the decider to topple a great rival and earn crucial points in the battle for London.

Serving at 78%, Alexander had the upper hand in the first set, dropping three points behind the initial shot and hitting 11 winners and six unforced errors to mount the pressure on Federer, who couldn't endure it. They produced eight commanding service holds, and it was Zverev who earned one break at 3-2 with deep returns that took the rhythm away from Federer, forging the advantage and closing the set with four service winners at 5-3 after just 27 minutes.

They traded breaks in games two and three in set number two, delivering seven easy holds to stay locked up at 5-5, with no room for errors for Roger in the remaining games.

Alexander Zverev defeated Roger Federer in three sets in Shanghai last year.

Serving in that 11th game, Federer suffered a break after a forehand winner from Zverev, who was now serving for an impressive victory after less than 70 minutes.

It wasn't to be for the German at that moment, though, wasting three match points in the 12th game and getting broken after some incredible volleys from Roger, who leveled the score at 6-6 to set up a tie break. In the breaker, the Swiss fended off match points at 5-6 and 6-7 and closed the set with an ace, gathering massive momentum ahead of the decider.

It wasn't easy for Alexander to leave those five match points behind and start all over in the final set. Still, he did exactly that, holding at 15 in the first game with a service winner and earning a break in the next game following a former champion's volley error.

The German grabbed the third game with a hold at love, opening a 3-0 advantage and earning a couple of break points in the fourth game. Federer saved those to stay within one break deficit and erased another one at 1-4 with a forehand winner before Zverev moved 5-2 up with a hold at love, getting closer to the finish line.

Serving for the triumph in the ninth game, Alexander held at 15 to bring the encounter home and advance into the semi-final where he faced Matteo Berrettini.