ATP Masters 1000Roger FedererShanghai Masters

Federer Comes Through Medvedev Test in Shanghai

Roger Federer's Shanghai title defence bid is off to a winning start after the Swiss survived a tough encounter against Daniil Medvedev, eventually prevailing 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 in 1 hour and 52 minutes.

The Russian came into the tie brimming with confidence having just won his third and biggest title of 2018 at the Tokyo Open and after a nervy start, he settled nicely to give Roger a real workout from the back of the court.

Quick Match Recap

Federer 2R Shanghai 2018

Roger won the toss and elected to receive.  A nervy-looking Medvedev double-faulted on the opening point and the Swiss went on to break for 1-0.

The advantage was quickly consolidated to 15 but in game four, some loose points handed Medvedev the break back. The Russian soon found himself up 3-2 and very much in the driving seat. In game seven Roger came out on the wrong side of a 29 shot rally and missed a breakpoint a chance but he was able to take in the initiative in game nine, again helped in part by a Medvedev double fault en route to breaking for 5-4 before taking the set 6-4.

Into set two and Medvedev fought off a break point in game three and from there both players traded comfortable holds. That run ended in game ten however as Roger couldn't serve to stay in the set as Medvedev nabbed it 6-4 with solid hitting from the baseline.

With Roger holding a 7/11 record for the year in third set deciders he was the slight favourite heading in but he had to dig deep, coming up with a superb half-volley at 15-30 in game two and then saving a breakpoint. In game three it was Medvedev's turn to save a breakpoint, aided by a huge Federer shank as he held for 2-1.

From there both players exchanged easy enough holds but after holding from deuce in game eight Roger made a move, applying the pressure at 30-30 and getting the crucial break when Medvedev's forehand broke down. The Swiss served out the match 6-4 with an ace on match point.

Match Stats

Roger Federer Daniil Medvedev
Aces 10 5
Double Faults 0 3
1st Serve 71% (61/86) 65% (66/101)
1st Serve Points Won 82% (50/61) 64% (42/66)
2nd Serve Points Won 36% (9/25) 54% (19/35)
Break Points Saved 33% (1/3) 57% (4/7)
Service Games Played 15 15
1st Serve Return Points Won 36% (24/66) 18% (11/61)
2nd Serve Return Points Won 46% (16/35) 64% (16/25)
Break Points Converted 43% (3/7) 67% (2/3)
Return Games Played 15 15
Winners 38 28
Unforced Errors 27 23
Net Points Won 69% (29/42) 59% (10/17)
Service Points Won 69% (59/86) 60% (61/101)
Return Points Won 40% (40/101) 31% (27/86)
Total Points Won 53% (99/187) 47% (88/187)

Shot of the Match

Thoughts on the Match

Federer def Medvedev Shanghai

Good fight. The crowd was unbelievable. I had to play some great tennis at the end which made the difference. I tried a bit of everything and I'm happy because it actually did work.

A tough start here for the GOAT against a guy who's enjoying a stellar season and was on a 7 match winning streak from Tokyo last week.

The only real time I've seen Medvedev play was when he took out Stan at Wimbledon last year and he was impressive. Rock solid backhand that's very flat, an effective serve, good mover and an unorthodox forehand that appears to tricky to read. He certainly brought all those things to the court today and he's also improved over the last 12 months so he was a real handful.

After Roger went up the early break it looked like it might have been a short evenings work but Medvedev reined him in and from the back of the court was the more solid player for the most part. Fortunately Fed's variety and net game got him out of some sticky situations. Medvedev probably hit the volley of the match as you can see in the video above but Fed came up with some of his own volley magic, especially that half-volley at the start of set three to avoid two break points. He also mixed it up a ton, it didn't always work as Medvedev was able to soak up a lot of it but Roger kept trying things and got his rewards in the end.

I also think holes in your technique are going to be exploited more on the big points and Medvedev's forehand is one of the wackiest around. It held up for basically the whole match as he'd managed it well with Roger targetting it but it leaked errors at the end of the first set and third set in the games he was broken.

Predictions vs. Bautista-Agut

Next up is the Royal Bank of Agut who had a tough three-setter with Mackie McDonald earlier in the day. Agut has had a few injuries of late and hasn't looked in great form judging from his results but he's a real roadrunner and will make a lot of balls so this could be another test.

I've not seen him play here in Shanghai to really judge his level but he usually gives Fed a bit of a game before losing too many of the crucial points. His backhand is a bit of a hockey shot and there's no real artillery in his game so I'll pick Fed in two sets in what I assume will be slightly quicker conditions.

What did you guys think of the match? Let me know in the comments.


Huge fan of Roger Federer. I watch all his matches from Grand Slam level right down to ATP 250. When I'm not watching or writing about tennis I play regularly myself and have a keen interest in tactics, equipment and technicalties of the sport.

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  1. It’s funny how you read so many times on comments spread all over the net “Fed is not what he used to be, despite of the win.”
    So what? Things and people change all the time, so the odds are that way more often than not things and people are not what they used to be.
    That said, I didn’t watch the match and I’m yet to watch the highlights, but credit must be paid where it is due. The guy on the other side of the net is not grandmother on a wheel chair. He’s a top athlete.
    So, eat you porridge, kids, and enjoy it.

    1. Exactly,there are so many armchair warriors out there who have never even stepped on a tennis court,still less won a match on one.And at this level ,playing the best in the world,nearly all of whom are years younger than him!

    1. Haha that is autocorrect not triggering when I half wrote the word and me not realising. I wrote some of this post on my phone sat on a wall outside 😀

  2. That match was too close for comfort. Thank goodness for Fed’s serve and net play. I agree, though, that Roger should win over RBA more comfortably, as long as he plays at a decent level.

  3. Very much wanted to read your take on this Jonathan.I felt this was a hard won victory against a player who was
    supposed to be tired.LOL.Fed was a bit rusty but also getting beaten from the back of the court.So he came forward
    particularly in the third set.It was at times excruciating to watch those balls flying past him at the net but he hung on in there.That serve out wide followed by the volley dug him out of several difficult spots.To be honest I thought he was going out and had to go and walk around the garden.I really am the most useless fan.I think Fed backed himself to win and it paid off.So the confidence of winning 20 Grand slams beats what Medvedev has achieved.Not belittling
    him at all he played really well and looked shattered by the end.
    As for BA,I would go for Fed in straights,no real weapons to hurt Fed.
    This win should have given Fed much needed confidence.A loss today would have been disastrous,not only in ranking points but also match practice.So upwards and onwards.?

    1. All of these comments Annie, including going for a walk around the garden. I thought Fed was courageous to go to the net so often as there were a few unpleasant passing shots. I actually thought Fed played very well and he was playing the winner of the Tokyo Open who was young and on fire. People expect so much of him, too much, they expect him to win every point (although I am one of them, haha! Has anyone had a heart attack watching Federer?). Loved the red contingent with their huge Fed banners covering several seat rows and themselves. Yes, if he had lost it would have been a disaster for him and us but he didn’t so “Come on!! !!!” tomorrow.

      1. Yes,it is the courage isn’t it?Anyone can stay at the back of the court ,trading shots,waiting for the more aggressive player to make mistakes.I think you know who I mean?So he did well,especially as the first competive match since American Open.
        So I think he will go forward with increasing confidence.
        Also this what I like about Tsipas,he also trusts himself and makes things happen.So we shall see.

    2. Yeah I expected Medvedev to wilt after dropping the opener given the amount of tennis he played but he was deffo there to compete. I thought he looked dead at the end too, zapped of energy in his face.

  4. That volley is just stunning. How Medvedev managed to put that spin on it when it looked as though he barely reached the ball I don’t know!

    1. Yes it was wasn’t it.Very rare for Fed to applaud an opponent,but he did then.Not suggesting that Fed is mean with compliments but it it is quite unusual.

    2. I thought the spin was almost an accidental function of his barely getting to the ball- jabbing to BAREly reach it, the whipping around to be ready in case it came back… I imagine it would be difficult to re-create that on purpose.

    3. Well it was slightly fluke tbh, great shot to make it but never intended to hit it that acute or with that much spin. The fact he got enough on it at full stretch off a dipping pass though is quality.

  5. Very close match as expected. Roger comes through thanks to his great volleying, variety and experience. Also thanks in part to Medvedev’s FH at crucial points and his horrible ball toss :). RBA should be easier as they have played a few times before and Roger knows what he needs to do. Of late, I think Roger’s play during crucial points tends to break down even against run of the Millmen.
    He leaks errors at the worst possible times and starts doubting himself even when he is ahead. Hopefully that is my imagination and not just a sign of Roger getting old coupled with lack of enough match play.

  6. Well Ganesh,
    That Millman match was a bit unusual as Fed said that he couldn’t breathe!All of us doubt ourselves at times,but grand slam winners usually back themselves to win,errors or not.

  7. Excellent recap, no sign of rust unlike Fed’s FHs, Jonathan. Glad he managed to prevail after I had to leave the live chat for a telephone call, well done guys for cheering him to tough it out. The court seems quite fast so hopefully he keeps improving! Btw, I liked your twits ‘Credit Suisse vs Royal Bank of Agut’ 😆

  8. Very good start from Fed, especially when considering this very tough first opponent in his draw. He look rested and I liked his courageous attacking style.
    What I liked the most about today:
    He took a lot of risk on the backhand going for a lot of topspin shots, both on the return and during the rallies instead of slicing unnecessariIy often as it was the case for most of this year. Of course it didn’t work all the time but in the end it payed off as he made 13 winners on the backhand vs 12 winners on the forehand. Hopefully he continues with this believe in that shot – then we might get back to another 2017-Fest…

    1. I don’t think using his slice is unnecessary. Quick to write off a shot that won him like 10 slams when paired with his forehand. All about mixing it up and keeping that attacking mindset, aggressive slice and aggressive topspin. Both good choices.

      1. You’re right of course. I have no problem with Feds bh slice. Its amazing to mix up his game. My point is he used it far too often this year being just so much passive (preventing to loose using the slice instead of trying to win using the topspin).

  9. I know Roger always comments on the fans and really they can be quite daunting,
    but and there is always a but I always think the pressure to please must be tremendous.
    So glad he won because the guy on the other side of the net is no mug. As a Fedfan
    we expect too much having said that I just want him to win!

  10. I actually thought Fed played well considering the break. I picked him to win in 2 but I think he might hv got more out of the tight battle. He hit a ton of balls, was given all kinds to look at and his net play was great. Yes thee weeks few shanks and the 2nd serve was a bit short against a big returner like Daniil but he hung around and played with an enormous amount of variety. That was great to see. Allez

  11. Good title….Fright Night. Boy Roger, so many nail biters this year. I had visions of Mirka hauling out the suitcases. Good win and he played well considering.
    Shanghai….what a zoo. How many body guards around Fed, 12? The fans are crazed. Reminds me of old footage in a documentary of the Beatles at Shea Stadium 1964 or so. Girls screaming. So much devotion, wow. Kind of creepy.
    Next match, 3am for me. Good luck, Roger!

    1. All tournaments not named Indian Wells now called a Zoo 😆

      They are mental over there for him, not sure I would wanna sit amongst the big contingent in red. Could be too much.

    2. The banners for Fed in the arena  make me think of the Chinese Communist party congress celebrations… Would he like to be the Great Helmsman of the 2018 Shanghai Open ? If so he will have to share his Crédit Suisse account with his numerous fans, first…

  12. Medvedev is only 22, so 15 years younger than Roger… Also did Mededev grow a lot this year? I only saw him before at the Next Gen Finals when he lost to Chung but he looks much taller now.

  13. Yes I think he had two tricky first matches.But that second set today was awful especially following the wonderful first set.

    1. I know. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing on the livescores. Interestingly enough, like yesterday, he started wobbling more or less as I started “watching” (the ATP website insisted for the first 45 minutes that nothing was happening – I was wondering if there was something wrong with my maths in converting the time zone differences!). Maybe I’ll just not bother, instead 🙂

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