Shanghai Flashback: Roger Federer beats Daniil Medvedev to kick off title defense

World no. 2 and the defending Shanghai champion Roger Federer had to work hard in his first ATP tournament after that unexpected fourth-round loss at the US Open to John Millman in 2018. The Swiss defeated an in-form Daniil Medvedev 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 in an hour and 53 minutes for his 37th victory of the season and the 360th at the Masters 1000 level. The young Russian won the Tokyo title as a qualifier a few days before and had to switch his focus to Shanghai, struggling in his first-round clash but giving his best against Roger before falling in three sets.

The two-time Shanghai champion had some issues on the second serve, restricting the damage in his service games and getting broken once from three chances offered to the youngster. On the other hand, Federer grabbed 40% of the return points, breaking Daniil three times from seven opportunities and securing the triumph with a decisive return game at 4-4 in the final set. The Swiss had 38 winners and 27 unforced errors, while Medvedev landed 28 winners and 23 errors, unable to keep the pace with Roger in the shortest points up to four strokes, the segment that determined the winner. Roger broke in the first game after Daniil’s forehand error, and the Russian pulled it back in game four to get back on the positive side.

In 2018, Roger Federer defeated Daniil Medvedev in three sets in Shanghai.

The Russian stayed in touch until the ninth game when Federer broke thanks to Daniil’s poor forehand and closed the opener a few minutes later with a volley winner for 6-4 after 35 minutes. Roger earned a break chance in the second set’s third game with a forehand winner. Still, Daniil repelled it with a service winner that gave him momentum to fight even stronger. The Russian seized a break in the tenth game after a forehand winner to grab the set and force a decider, moving closer to his most significant victory in a career.

The Swiss fended off a break chance in the final set’s second game with a service winner and had the opportunity to move ahead in the next one, spraying a colossal forehand error to keep Daniil on the positive side. The more experienced player held everything under control in his service games in the rest of the clash, mounting the pressure on Medvedev and scoring a break at 4-4 when Daniil sent a forehand wide. Thanks to three winners, Roger delivered an excellent hold in game ten to clinch the triumph and set the third-round clash against a former Shanghai finalist, Roberto Bautista Agut. 

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