ATP Shanghai, Semi-Final Preview: Novak Djokovic v Roger Federer


Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic will meet in the semi-finals of Shanghai on Saturday (starting at 1pm UK time) for the fifth time this year and the 36th time in their career.  A win for Djokovic would see him level the H2H at 18 all.  Djokovic was first of the pair into the last four as he defeated David Ferrer in straight sets, 6-4 6-2.  It was a much easier match for him compared to the third round where he was pushed all the way by Mikhail Kukushkin.  Federer had that narrow escape in his first match against Leonardo Mayer, but has improved significantly in his next two matches, both straight set wins against Roberto Bautista Agut and Julien Benneteau.  In the quarters, Federer put on a great display to win, 7-6(4) 6-0.  The stats tell the story…

The pair have split their four meetings in 2014; Federer kicked the year off with a come-from-behind victory in the semi-finals of Dubai, 3-6 6-3 6-2.  Djokovic turned the table in Indian Wells, winning a gripping final that was decided by a third set tiebreak.  Federer won in Monte-Carlo, the only one of their four encounters to be decided in straight sets although it’s fair to say that Djokovic was hampered by a wrist injury.  The most recent of their matches was the Wimbledon final.  In five fabulous sets, Djokovic won, 6-7(7) 6-4 7-6(4) 5-7 6-4.  Djokovic-Federer matches are my favourite on the ATP tour and always create something that is so much more watchable than any of the other H2H’s on the ATP tour.  Both players have had their scares this week, but the slate is essentially wiped clean in the semi-finals.  Originally I went for Federer to prevail… however, i’ve changed my mind and I do believe that Djokovic has the staying power to march into another final.

Prediction: Djokovic d. Federer in 3 sets

ATP Shanghai Semi-Final Prediction

Gilles Simon d. Feliciano Lopez in 3 sets: This is a tough one to call.  Lopez defeated Simon back-to-back in the final of Eastbourne and in the first round of Wimbledon last year.  Both have obviously played well to make it this far and both have had a big win; Lopez too out Rafael Nadal in straight sets, meanwhile Simon defeated Stan Wawrinka and Tomas Berdych, both in three sets.  I’d give a slight edge to Simon, who I would have more faith in holding his nerve if this got tight.

I went against Simon in the quarters in my daily preview for Friday, but i’m still claiming glory for my semi-final pick of Simon, which is probably my best *pre-tournament* prediction of the entire year.

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