Federer beats in-form Medvedev in Shanghai

Published by AAP

Roger Federer improved his 2018 win-loss record to 41-6 after beating Daniil Medvedev in the first round of the Shanghai Masters; Getty Images
Roger Federer scrapes his way to victory at the Shanghai Masters in his first match since a shock loss to John Millman in the US Open fourth round.

Defending champion Roger Federer began his Shanghai Masters campaign with a hard-fought 6-4 4-6 6-4 win over big-serving Russian Daniil Medvedev in China on Wednesday.

Federer, 37, returns to Shanghai hoping to boost his career tally to 99 titles.

Medvedev, who won the Japan Open in Tokyo on Sunday, conceded a break in game nine to allow Federer to complete the set with a quick fire serve and volley in 35 minutes.

The 22-year-old Russian stormed back in the second set and broke Federer’s serve at 5-4 to force a decider.

However, the world No.2 was gifted a break in the ninth game of the third set after a Medvedev mishit, allowing the Swiss to confirm the win with an ace after one hour and 53 minutes.

Federer will play Spain’s Roberto Bautista-Agut in round three after the Spaniard dismissed 23-year-old American Mackenzie McDonald 3-6 6-4 6-1.

“In the third set I really started to figure it out, as well, how aggressive or how tactical I wanted to make the match, and by trying everything, I found a solution at the end, which was a great feeling to have, so I was very happy,” Federer told atpworldtour.com.

In other results on Wednesday, Juan Martin del Potro had to battle from behind twice against Richard Gasquet to claim his third-round spot with a 7-5 7-6(7) victory.

The 2018 US Open finalist trailed 2-0 in the first set before stealing the lead from Gasquet’s grasp with a late break.

Exciting Greek 20-year-old Stefanos Tsitsipas joins the last-16 stage after a 6-4 7-6(8) success over Russian Karen Khachanov and will play Wimbledon finalist Kevin Anderson, who beat Mikhail Kukushkin.

Another youngster, Alex de Minaur, set up a tasty third-round encounter with Alexander Zverev after easing to a 6-4 6-3 win over Frenchman Benoit Paire

The Australian’s late season run gains momentum; he is already at a career-high No.33 in the world and is eyeing off more rankings points as he closes in on a seeding at next year’s Australian Open.

In his first third-round appearance at a Masters series event he’ll face Germany’s Zverev, who enjoyed an impressive second round win over in-form Georgian Nikoloz Basilashvili 7-5 6-4.

Basilashvili won last week’s China Open in Beijing.

Meanwhile, three-time Shanghai Masters champion Novak Djokovic will have the chance to avenge a Grand Slam loss in the next round.

The reigning Wimbledon and US Open champion will face Marco Cecchinato next after the Italian beat South Korea’s Hyeon Chung 4-6 7-6(5) 7-6(5) in a two hours and 34 minutes thriller.

Cecchinato, who is ranked 21st in the world and seeded 16th, ended Djokovic’s French Open run with a shock quarterfinal win in June.

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