Federer: Zverev 'Showed Great Character' In Resilient Shanghai QF Win
Roger Federer's helpful advice to Alexander Zverev less than a month ago came back to hurt the Swiss on Friday at the Rolex Shanghai Masters. But Federer didn't seem to mind, despite falling to 3-4 against Zverev in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series and losing for the first time in a Shanghai quarter-final (5-1).
At the Laver Cup last month in Geneva, Federer, with a few choice words, told Team Europe teammate Zverev that he didn't want to see any negative body language as the German played a winner-take-all Match Tie-break against Team World's Milos Raonic.
Zverev listened and showed positive emotions to clinch Europe's third consecutive Laver Cup title. The German also exhibited similar body language on Friday against Federer and, despite losing five match points in the second set, achieved his first Top 10 win of the year with a 6-3, 6-7(7), 6-3 win.
“I told him at the net that he showed great character, that he was strong... I thought he didn't show any frustrations or too much negativity,” Federer said. “I didn't see him very often being extremely frustrated except the one time when he hit three let cords in a row, the last game I think it was.
“That was impressive, because he has tendencies to get a bit down on himself. Especially this season, he hasn't been playing maybe so well, so that impressed me the most. If I can get one per cent of that, I'm happy, too.”
Zverev had three consecutive match points on his serve at 6-5, 40/0 in the second set and two more in the ensuing tie-break, but Federer saved them all. The 22-year-old Zverev, however, quickly rebounded, breaking Federer and jumping out to a 3-0 lead in the deciding set.
“It was a crazy end to the second set, no doubt about it. I think it was 6-5, 40-Love... At that point you're halfway home anyway, but I defended well, attacked well, hit some great shots, came back and then also the tie-break was tough the whole time,” Federer said.
“But [it] was definitely a great atmosphere at that point, and I was able to maybe get a bit more balls back on his serve, because I thought he was clocking his serve really well all match today. It was really impressive.
“I think [in the] second set he had more opportunities probably, so I think he deserved to win that third set.”
Federer was competing in his first match since the Laver Cup. He's next scheduled to play at his hometown tournament, the Swiss Indoors Basel, which begins 21 October. He has, for a record-extending 17th time, already secured his place at the season-ending Nitto ATP Finals, to be held 10-17 November at The O2 in London.