Top-seeded Roger Federer had to work for it, but he ultimately beat Frenchman Gilles Simon on Friday to advance to the semifinals at the Swiss Indoors Basel in Switzerland.
FILE PHOTO – Tennis – Shanghai Masters – Men’s Singles – Semi-finals – Qi Zhong Tennis Center, Shanghai, China – October 13, 2018. Roger Federer of Switzerland in action against Borna Coric of Croatia. REUTERS/Aly Song
The eight-time champion and hometown hero needed 2 hours and 36 minutes to complete the victory 7-6 (1), 4-6, 6-4, as the first set took more than an hour alone. Federer quickly fell behind 3-0 to open the match but clawed back to 5-5 with a break after squandering four previous break points. He then staved off a set point while serving down 5-6 before quickly handling the tiebreaker.
Simon responded, however, breaking Federer three times in the second set to force a third. Federer, the world No. 3, took a 3-0 advantage in the decisive set but was broken at love to even it at 4-4 before pulling away for victory.
Federer’s semifinals opponent will be seventh-seeded Russian Daniil Medvedev, a 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 winner over Greek fourth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas in the day’s final match.
The other semifinal will pit German second seed Alexander Zverev — who beat Spanish eighth seed Roberto Bautista Agut 7-5, 6-3 — against Romanian qualifer Marius Copil, who downed American Taylor Fritz 7-6 (6), 7-5).
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Fifth-seeded Kei Nishikori of Japan routed local favorite and top-seeded Dominic Thiem in the quarterfinals at Vienna, Austria, dispatching him 6-3, 6-1 in just 66 minutes.
Nishikori broke in Thiem’s first two service games in each set, storming out to a 5-0 lead in the first and a 4-0 advantage in the second. He ultimately converted five of 10 break points while saving five of the six he faced.
In the semifinals, Nishikori will meet Kazakhstani qualifier Mikhail Kukushkin, who battled back to survive Hungary’s Marton Fucsovics 4-6, 7-6 (2), 7-6 (4) in a 3-hour, 17-minute marathon.
The other semifinal will feature two players who advanced after their opponents retired due to injury while down a set. Second-seeded Kevin Anderson of South Africa led Croatian No. 6 Borna Coric 7-6 (2), 1-2 when Coric retired. Anderson will meet Spain’s Fernando Verdasco, who led Frenchman Gael Monfils 6-4, 2-1 when Monfils bowed out.
—Field Level Media