ATP Masters 1000Roger FedererShanghai Masters

Zverev Takes Out Federer To Make Last Four in Shanghai

The German overcame five wasted match points in the 2nd set to progress 6-3, 6-7(7), 6-3.

Alexander Zveverv is through to the semi-finals in Shanghai after pulling off his most significant and first top 10 win of 2019 with a 6-3, 6-7(7), 6-3 victory over an animated Roger Federer.

The German, who just three weeks ago was teammates with Federer in their third Laver Cup victory, had five match points in the second set but withstood the Federer fight back, maintaining a high level in the third set to progress after 2 hours and 4 minutes of play. 

The win sees Zverev significantly boost his chances of qualifying for the Nitto ATP Finals as the 180 points gained mean he's up to 7th in the race ahead of Bautista Agut. He'll next face Dominic Thiem or Matteo Berrettini for a place in the final.

Quick Match Recap

Federer Shanghai Qf 2019

Federer won the toss and elected to receive. Zverev kicked things off with a hold to thirty before Federer matched him despite only landing one first serve.

The German fired down a love hold to lead 2-1, but Roger was soon level, again holding to thirty thanks to some good footwork and a couple of decent forehands.

Another love hold saw Zverev move up 3-2 and put the pressure straight back on Federer. That pressure told as Zverev unsettled Roger on the baseline to break for a 4-2 lead.

Zverev was looking increasingly in charge, and he consolidated the break to lead 5-2, winning 12 of the last 15 points.

Federer needed to change things up, and in game eight he came forward behind his serve which helped him hold for 3-5. However, Zverev wasn't going to be perturbed, and he held to love to take the set 6-3 in just 27 minutes.

Roger managed just four winners in the set, and despite serving at 71%, he won only 59% of points behind his first serve as Zverev dominated in all areas.

Into set two and Roger responded with a hold to love for 1-0. Zverev had looked rock solid on serve in set one, but he double-faulted to give Federer 0-30. If it weren't for a shank the Swiss would have had three breakpoints, but a well-constructed point gave him 15-40, and although Zverev saved the first, a slick dropper after a lung buster of a rally put Roger up 2-0.

In trying to consolidate Roger quickly found himself in trouble at 30-40 and despite making deuce Zverev hit a stylish backhand pass on the run to set up a breakpoint which he converted to get back on serve.

A hold to thirty put Zverev level at 2-2 before Roger got back in front with a love hold for 3-2. The lead, however, was short-lived as Zverev held to fifteen for 3-3.

An exchange of relatively comfortable holds saw the scoreboard tick along to 4-4, but in game nine Federer failed to put away two overheads, then dumped a volley into the net off a ball that was sailing into the tramlines to give Zverev 0-15 window. The German then made 30-30, but Roger fired down a key ace and went onto hold for 5-4.

A blink and you'll miss it service game from Zverev saw him level at 5-5 in no time at all. Roger then slipped down breakpoint at 30-40 after attempting a huge cross-court forehand. Zverev converted, making Federer hit a couple more balls then he would have liked and then making another pass to lead 6-5.

Zverev quickly brought up three match points at 40-0, but out of nowhere Federer began to return his first serve and won five points in a row to break, coming up with some ridiculous volleys to force a tie break.

Into the breaker and Federer was able to get up the early mini-break, moving into a 5-3 lead but a serve and volley behind a short second serve allowed Zverev to recover it. The German then bombed down two big serves to set up a fourth match point at 6-5. Federer saved it with a big first serve but then Zverev came up with a brilliant backhand pass on then run to give himself a fifth match point at 7-6 on his serve. Again Federer saved it and won the next two points to take the breaker 9-7.

Into the decider and Zverev regrouped with a hold to fifteen for 1-0. Federer then let his level drop, and Zverev broke for 2-0.  Nacho Forcadell announced new balls which rattled Federer who berated the umpire for not telling him they were due so he could switch racquets.

Zverev consolidated to love for 3-0 and then Federer received a point penalty at 15-30 for hitting a ball into the crowd which he claimed was a mishit. That resulted in another heated discussion with the umpire, but he saved both break points to hold for 1-3. 

The Swiss fashioned 15-30 in game five and looked to have the bit between his teeth but Zverev bombed down three huge serves to hold for 4-1.

Federer needed to fight off another deuce game to hold for 4-2, but he couldn't make any inroads on the return as Zverev held to love for 5-2.

A love hold for 3-5 meant Zverev had to try to serve it out for the second time and he did so, doing so to fifteen to take it 6-3.

Match Stats

Shanghai Masters 1000 Quarter-Final Alexander Zverev Roger Federer
Aces 17 3
Double Faults 1 0
1st Serve 78% (70/90) 64% (59/92)
1st Serve Points Won 77% (54/70) 64% (38/59)
2nd Serve Points Won 60% (12/20) 58% (19/33)
Break Points Saved 33% (1/3) 50% (4/8)
Service Games Played 16 14
1st Serve Return Points Won 36% (21/59) 23% (16/70)
2nd Serve Return Points Won 42% (14/33) 40% (8/20)
Break Points Converted 50% (4/8) 67% (2/3)
Return Games Played 14 16
Winners 43 21
Unforced Errors 23 21
Net Points Won 53% (10/19) 48% (19/40)
Service Points Won 73% (66/90) 62% (57/92)
Return Points Won 38% (35/92) 27% (24/90)
Total Points Won 55% (101/182) 45% (81/182)

Second Set Drama

Thoughts on the Match

Fed Zverev Shanghai 2019

I thought he was clocking his serve well all day, I think the second set he had more opportunities so he deserved that third set. I thought I played alright, it's tough when he's serving 220 average and you're down within a couple of shots, 30-0 on the return games so I dunno look, I tried, I definitely had some moments. I felt like it was more my service games where the rallies were taking place which was tough for me. I was hoping to get more second serves, I was maybe hoping at the beginning of games I would be more in the games on Sascha's serve but he didn't let that happen so credit to him. Then naturally you are maybe missing some rhythm, normally not an issue for me, but the court plays quick so you don't have much time to think about it. You serve, he returns, you attack and hope that attack lands decent and you're not going to be stranded when you come to the net and he's got a backhand that's gold so sometimes he made me pay there. Federer on his loss to Zverev

A fun match this one but the wrong outcome for Federer as he didn't have his best day at the office. Some good points, but he wasn't able to dictate play as he wanted and never looked comfortable during the match.

I thought pre-match Roger would get Zverev on the run and mix it up, but it was Sascha who controlled the match, playing one metre further up the court compared to his last match and putting an extra 5km/h on his groundstrokes.

The weight of ball off his racquet caused Federer a lot of problems, and when the Swiss tried to change it up by coming forward, he was consistently burned with Sascha making several high quality passing shots to limit Federer to winning just 19 of 40 points at the net. 

The first set was the key as it often is in best of 3 and even though Fed showed a ton of grit to sneak the second, I had a feeling he'd have a letdown in the third when the adrenaline wore off, and that's what happened. I don't think he helped his cause by getting into an argument with the umpire either which while entertaining was wasted energy.

The first tirade was due to the umpire not telling him that new balls were due to which he said: “I have other issues man, are you the one missing shots?” 😆 and the second argument ensued after he received a point penalty for hitting a ball into the crowd. It was a soft penalty, but the rules were correctly enforced and given he'd already smashed a ball out the stadium and done something to the net he surely knew he was on thin ice.

The talking points will be the second set drama and Federer's point penalty for ball abuse, but I thought Zverev played a great match, there were multiple occasions he could have let his focus slip, but he played at a high level throughout and his game never really wavered. The German was the better player for 90% of the match, and aside from Federer's short stints of brilliance, he ran away the deserved winner. 

What did you guys think of the match? What could Federer have done differently to impose his game on Zverev? Do you think he deserved the point penalty? 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. The better player won.I think we may have a sascha v titsy final which will be great.
    Think Feds serve let him down, never seemed to get a first serve when he needed it.
    Seemed cranky and bad tempered as well.Great fight back in the tiebreak though.

  2. Yeah, I’ll take a clean defeat over a frustrating one where Roger “was the best player overall but missed the few important points.”
    Go home, rest and practice more.
    Who will win this tournament? Bets, anyone?…

  3. One of the matches RF never seems I control and playing from behind…Zverev fire on passing shots which burnt Riger often….It’s about f***g time!!! That I don’t like, oh well but he won the match…

  4. I’m so disappointed even if I like Zverev, the match was very close. But that’s the way it is. I hope now that Zverev wins it all.

  5. Disappointing match for us Fed fans but to be fair the better player won today.
    Just a bad day at the office for Roger and the young guys are starting to get their acts together and play some pretty nice tennis. I may keep watching when Roger retires after all 😂

  6. It was not Roger’s best as I’m sure he will state. I find everytime he decides to receive he is at a disadvantage. If the umpire Is following the rules then I guess he must do his job, I find the umpires are not consistent. Did Zverev receive a point penalty for smashing his racket to pieces in the previous match or is that allowed!

    1. Wouldn’t that depend on whether he’d got a warning prior to it?

      No, when I saw the draw, I suspected Fed was going to slip up somewhere, and it looks as though I was right 🙁
      Sascha obviously on very good form, with 80% on first serves and 15+ aces. I have to admit, when it got to his second match point I just turned away in disgust and went back to work. So imagine my surprise when I checked in maybe 15 minutes later and found they were into a third set somehow! But I then predicted that Fed would lose it 6-3, so I guess I was expecting the now-customary wobble early in the set.

    2. I think there is a point penalty at the second gear abuse (and a warning after the first one). Possibly the same for verbal abuse.
      “Oh, drat, I missed that ball!”.
      “Oh, bollocks, I said ‘drat’!”
      “Oh, shit, I said ‘bollocks’!”
      “Fuck, I should have never taken tennis!”

    3. I agree about Fed deciding to receive.I always scream when he does that.
      To me it is a great advantage to serve first and shouldn’t be given up.No doubt there are statistics to
      prove it makes no difference but it seems like it does to me.

  7. “One of the finest Houdini acts going”? Oh yes, definitely – those highlights are REALLY good! Just a shame he hadn’t played like that for more of the match.

    And yes, I just checked the time you posted: just when my browser seized up again! I’d suspected as much.

  8. For some moments I saw Roger playing being Roger. Most of the moments he couldn’t return or worst his decision go to on the net were wrongs. I continue to think he is not playing well since Wimbledon. Laver Cup was not magnificent, and the other two matches in this tournament… well, you saw them. Hope to see a great Roger in Basel

  9. Not particularly upset about this one. Fed was a little better than I thought he would be, and he was clearly second best today. Was happy to see Fed take it to a third, he showed more grit and clutch ability there than he has all year, so it was good to see that back despite him not being high on confidence or matches. Disappointing in the sense that Djokovic was out, but I won’t lose sleep over failing to secure a Masters 1000. Slams on the other hand…

  10. Everyone kept talking about the Nextgen taking over. Well, this is the first semi where all players were born in the 90’s. So, now it’s happening.
    I forgot to record the match so not too disappointed I didn’t. Did anyone watch the Djoker match? Was ST that much better?
    Not too many times where Fed’s opponent has twice the winners as him.
    Why oh why did Roger coach Zverev at LC. He has helped restore Sasha’s confidence. Now, don’t know who to rout for?
    I still think Roger did too much smooching in China and has booked way way too many exhos.

    Happy Thanksgiving to all the Canucks!

    And thanks for the quick posts….big bad Jon.

    1. Yes,Roger showed what a wonderful coach he would be.😊
      Sascha has gone from strength to strength after getting rid of Lendl.
      Also Nadal to be fair.Remember him at the Laver Cup final match saying’we don’t want any negativity here.’
      Sascha and Tsitsy are the future of tennis I think.

    2. Yes, too much social and promotional stuff to handle, much of which does nothing for the sport, especially wearing a ridiculous blazer with a snake embroidered on the back.
      Even the press conferences are either:
      1) A waste of time
      2) Embarrassing
      3) Plain stupid
      4) Too long. Repetitive.
      4) Repetitive
      5) All of the above
      What can’t you leave him alone?! Please leave him alone! Bwaaaah. Bwaaaah! Snif. Snort.

    3. Ah cool stat about the 90’s. It is about time. I think I like Medvedev most ouf this generation from what I have seen so far. Tsitsipas has a nice game too.

      Zverev is boring to watch.

    4. Agree they are emerging in a pleasing fashion AZ is a Team 8 player now isn’t he ?, so Roger getting him into form by coaching and playing at a high standard, but losing, is all to the good for future Tennis. Showcasing him to the Asians via a loss to maestro Roger who is bigger than big there, is really good for AZ to become their heartthrob too . I’m
      Not implying it’s intentional on Fed’s part either, as he seemed annoyed he did not win, but it’s becoming Sascha’s time now he’s 22 or so. He needs b2b consistently & good showings &
      bringing it each week like Meddy has been doing for awhile now. Roger can’t play & win everything so now it’s time Rafole and the future stars duelled it out more!
      Too often these two seem to often get such easy draws, getting to Finals underchallenged, when in reality the young guys should probably already be winning regular slams !
      Allez next gen and still lots to enjoy with Roger!

  11. Zverev served great, Fed didn’t. Moving on.
    Hope Meddy wins but that also threatens Feds ranking so maybe Sascha to get the critics off his back and justify the Fed loss and the great coaching Fed gave during LC, haha!

    Onwards to Basel and maybe Paris??

    So Nadal end yr no 1 then. Probs deserves it tbh

      1. The problem with Paris is that they place the camera too far away and have to zoom a lot. Have you watched Hitchcocks’s Vertigo and the staircase scene filmed top-down?

  12. One last thing from me ,I thought Sascha displayed far more maturity in this match than has been the case.
    No whining ,smashing rackets etc.
    I think a lot of this could stem from the Laver Cup and the older players,Fed and Nadal being a good and positive influence on the younger ones.

    1. Yeah he was composed. I think partly because he was playing Fed, doesn’t want to embarrass himself 😆

      The only time he got annoyed was those 3 let serves in a row.

  13. I just hope that Roger’s back is alright. He was a bit slow and appeared to feel difficult to read Sasha’s serves, though played well with some breathtaking shots. Seeing him to have several weak shot selections at the net is a bit surprising, especially, at the beginning of the 3rd set. I just could not understand why he just pushed ball back straight, rather than gave a bit angle. In a couple of those volleys, balls simply landed in the Sasha’s ideal striking zones, to Sasha’s surprise. He certainly took those gifts happily and punished Roger in return. Clearly, Sasha played extremely well, especially his serve.

  14. Too many off-court commitments + too much travel in too little a time across too many timezones = Grumpy old Federer failing to be sharp at the net (and in general) + Not being fresh – failing to see them twinkle toes.

    Has no one impressed the importance of a midseason nap to old man fed?
    There is a happy medium as I understand it but heavens sake take a nap.

      1. I meant more in hindsight Jono. Either that or lighten his off-court commitments – you cant have yo cake and eat it too. That explosiveness he mentioned pre-tourney will continue to go amiss otherwise.

  15. Ohhhh – THANKS for the highlights, blinding brilliant, a soft consolation on the otherwise off day at office. He’s not done yet, we can still look forward.

  16. Sascha played cool while Fed was clearly off. So I’m okay with the loss, though I’m blame Fedal coaching at the LC.
    Came back from the dead in the 2nd set alone made my viewing worthwhile. Fed on rare rant and rave, quite a drama, too lol His mama and papa were like Stop it ffs… 😆

  17. “I had a feeling he’d have a letdown in the third when the adrenaline wore off, and that’s what happened.” – Spot on! Wisdom of our Jonathan.

  18. A bit disappointed Fed didn’t pull it off but at least it can’t be said to have been a boring match. Sasha seems to have definitely picked up his level and Fed not there enough to win it on the day. An A+ for Fed’s fight back efforts, though.

  19. Watched the replay of the Djoker v Stephanos match.
    Perhaps it was an emotional letdown but he wasn’t the same player that beat Novak.
    I am sticking with Sacha to win tomorrow.Wonderful serving today.
    Having said that I think that Stephanos has the most interesting game out of the top young ones.
    That backhand is a thing of beauty.

    1. Tsippy played too aggressively and the unforced errors piled up. Interestingly, he switched to passive mode when Medvedev was serving for the match and drew enough errors from him to get the break back… only to be broken again.

      1. I would take Medvedev’s backhand too, both are good but I feel like Daniil can do more with it. Even when he’s dragged wide still getting so much on it.

  20. Not a great serving day for Fed. Just cldnt get enough free points on 1st serve. Complete opposite for Sascha. He deserved the Win. Glad he fought back but he was basically overpowered on serve and on the baseline.
    Big question for me is will Meddy finally beat Zverev. Such a weird H2H. Zverev serving great but can he break the iron toughness of Meddy?? Hoping for a good match.
    Need Fed to defend Basel and win WTF otherwise 4th st AO

  21. What a performance by Medvedev, he completely destroyed Zverev. Those who tried to demean him in order to take credit out of Nadal’s victories against him might start rethinking that because this guy is here to stay.

    1. Well I agree with Stephanos that he is boring.Endless hitting the ball safely into court again and again and again.We have seen Djoker doing it for years and now looks as if we have more to come.
      A very disappointing match.Sascha having served brilliantly throughout the tournament until this match
      when his serve went AWOL.
      Those two double faults to donate the first set😱

      1. Meddy hit more winners than Zverev. I don’t find him too boring, he has a unique game style. Not the most exciting to watch of course but I like how he goes about his business.

        Zverev served well again, 65%, but the problem was he was under a lot more pressure even when he made them. Medvedev won 50% of his return points. Under big pressure when he missed a first serve.

    2. Hmmm… there’s little doubt that Medvedev’s achievements this year have great merit. At no point one can invoke the luck factor. But the most interesting question lies ahead: how will he fare from now on, when all eyes are on him as the potential first player to take the #1 ATP rank from the hands of you-know-who-they-are?
      I mean: one thing is having a great season and getting to the top (he’s not there yet, though). A totally different one is staying there.

  22. I don’t think Sasca served particularly well compared to how he served against Fed and particularly Berettini where his first serve was up to 80% or something.
    To beat Danil he had to serve like that.
    Sadly he didn’t .
    A very disappointing final.
    One thing that does worry me about Sascha is he does seem to give up if under scoreboard pressure.
    That is something the big three never do,you can’t count them out.
    Still for the young ones this has been a great tournament.
    Medvedev obviously,Sascha beat Fed,and Tsitsy the Djoker.
    So good for them.Now they just need to keep it up😊

  23. I see Fed has decided to play in the Olympics. Are all these exhos a hangover from the Wimby final?
    It feels ego driven. Why put your body through all that… for what? He could do all that when he retires. Bad,bad,bad, Roger.

    1. I thought the choice was allegedly not his to make? You’d think he’d be given a wildcard anyway, though, wouldn’t you?

  24. Has anyone watched the highlights from the match vs Isner in Tokyo?
    OK, it’s a charity match but it shows what a fully relaxed Roger can (could) do (have done).
    The video on YouTube has a terrible quality, though…

    1. I did. Roger played beautifully – a silky gazelle.  Hope he plays the same at Basel + Paris ? + London + … + RG… + … + Wim + Tokyolympics ! #103 #21

  25. like many others I too have thought ‘roger what are you doing
    trying to flog yourself to death with all these tournaments in the
    offing’. But then I thought you are a long time retired!!

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