SHANGHAI, Oct 14: World No 1 Novak Djokovic suffered a major scare against world number 110 Mischa Zverev before fighting back to reach the semifinals of the Shanghai Masters.
The Serbian top seed came back from a set and a break down to win 3-6, 7-6 (7-4), 6-3 in two hours 20 minutes, setting up a last-four tie against Spain’s Roberto Bautista Agut.
Djokovic, 29, made a number of uncharacteristic errors against Germany’s Zverev – including two double faults and 14 unforced errors in a nervy 62-minute second set – but was far more comfortable in the decider, breaking early as the qualifier ran out of steam.
Britain’s Andy Murray continued his fine form in China as he beat David Goffin in straight sets to reach the semifinals.
The second seed maintained his 100 per cent record against the Belgian with a 6-2, 6-2 win in one hour 35 minutes.
The Scot will play either American Jock Sock or France’s Gilles Simon next.
“It was a tough match. I struck the ball really well and created a lot of chances on my return game,” said the world number two.
The 29-year-old Wimbledon champion squandered six break points in the second game of the second set, a battle that lasted over 15 minutes, and with the score at 2-2 had to save two break points on his own serve.
But Goffin failed to convert any of his opportunities in that crucial period and Murray went on to break his opponent in the fifth game.
On the other hand, Roberto Bautista Agut ensured his second ATP World Tour Masters 1000 semifinal after beating ninth seeded Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-3, 6-4.
His first semifinal came two years ago on home soil in Madrid, where he lost to Rafael Nadal.
“I’m happy about being in the semifinals. But also, I’m happy with the way I’m working, with the way I’m planning all my days, with the way I’m playing on the court,” said Bautista Agut.
“I’m feeling great. I hope to continue like this.”
Bautista Agut will need to overturn a 0-5 FedEx ATP Head2Head record against World No 1 Djokovic if he is to make the final. “I am playing well and I’m doing the things well to face Novak,” said the Spaniard. “For sure it’s a good moment to face him. Novak is one of the best tennis players in history. I played against him a couple of really good matches. I know if I play good I can make it a difficult match for him.”
Bautista Agut has run the rule over Tsonga in 2016 and Friday’s quarterfinal followed suit as the 15th seed claimed victory in 73 minutes. After Bautista Agut had raced to a 5-1 lead in the opener, Tsonga clawed his way back into contention to make the second set competitive. But Bautista Agut made his decisive move in the 10th game, breaking Tsonga for the win. – Agencies