Shanghai Flashback: Roger Federer reaches title clash versus Rafael Nadal

Roger Federer defeated Juan Martin del Potro in the 2017 Shanghai semi-final

by Jovica Ilic
Shanghai Flashback: Roger Federer reaches title clash versus Rafael Nadal
© Kevin Lee / Stringer - Getty Images Sport

A few hours after Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer reached the 2017 Shanghai Masters final. Roger took down Juan Martin del Potro 3-6, 6-3, 6-3, overcoming a slow start and joining his great rival in the title clash. Federer defeated del Potro for the 17th time in 23 encounters, avenging the US Open loss and remaining on the title course on the fast hard court.

Roger raised his level in sets two and three, never facing a break point and keeping the pressure on the other side. Juan Martin failed to follow that pace, losing serve three times in the last two sets to end his journey in the semi-final.

Thus, Federer booked a place in his seventh final of the season and arranged the 38th meeting with his great rival Nadal. Roger served at 72% and lost only 14 points in 13 service games, suffering one break that cost him the opener.

The Swiss dropped nine points behind the initial shot in sets two and three, delivering reliable numbers on the return to overpower the opponent and remain on the title course. Del Potro lost 40% of the points on his serve.

He faced ten break chances and got broken three times, missing an opportunity to advance into his fourth Masters 1000 final and the second in Shanghai.

Roger Federer reached his third Shanghai Masters final in 2017.

It was a high-quality encounter right from the start, with seven easy holds and two loose service games in the opener.

Del Potro saved a break point with an ace in game three and held after five deuces with another unreturnable serve after almost ten minutes. It was Roger's turn to face problems in the sixth game, spraying three backhand errors to fall 4-2 behind.

Juan Martin held at 30 in games seven and nine to bring the set home with an ace after 37 minutes. They had a similar number of winners and errors, and that one break chance del Potro converted made all the difference. Roger raised his level in the second set, doing a lot of damage with his initial shot and firing a service winner in 58% of the points.

Federer dropped three points in five service games, keeping the pressure on the other side. Juan Martin was far from those numbers. He got broken in game six when Roger converted the fifth break opportunity. The Argentine saved two set points in game eight before the Swiss delivered a quick hold in the next one to clinch it 6-3 and gain a boost.

The final set was the shortest. Roger was too strong in his games, forcing Juan Martin to follow that if he wanted to stay in contention. Del Potro lost serve in game three after Federer's sublime defense, and the match was over when the Swiss grabbed another return game at 5-3 to set the anticipated final with Rafael Nadal.

Roger Federer Rafael Nadal Juan Martin Del Potro