Federer says ‘special’ fans inspired him to reach Shanghai quarters

Roger Federer never really felt like I had the upper hand against David Goffin. (AP)
Updated 10 October 2019

Federer says ‘special’ fans inspired him to reach Shanghai quarters

  • The Swiss defeated David Goffin 7-6 (9/7), 6-4

SHANGHAI: Roger Federer said that his devoted band of Chinese supporters helped pull him through a tough first set and into the Shanghai Masters quarter-finals on Thursday.
The Swiss defeated David Goffin 7-6 (9/7), 6-4 after the 13th seed from Belgium squandered five set points in the first set.
The 38-year-old Federer plays Alexander Zverev after the young German beat Andrey Rublev of Russia, 6-0, 7-6 (7/4).
“I never really felt like I had the upper hand against David today,” said the 20-time Grand Slam winner, who looked unusually flustered at times.
Federer was left shaking his head in the first set and he suffered a rare inelegant moment in the 12th game, slipping on his own sweat — “a bit embarrassing,” said the former number one.
The Swiss fell awkwardly and was then broken by Goffin, 14th in the world.
But the Belgian lost his nerve despite going 3-1 up in the first-tie break, and Federer roared back to turn the momentum in his favor.
Federer was regularly serenaded by chants of “Roger, Roger, go go go” by local supporters all sitting together in one part of the arena. All were decked out in red.
Federer, who failed to win a Grand Slam this year, said their backing had been key to his revival.
“It’s definitely very special here because they all sit in one block, sort of like in football to some extent, which is highly unusual for tennis and a tennis tournament,” he said.
Federer, fondly nicknamed “cow” in China, will play an exhibition tournament at the end of the year in the nearby city of Hangzhou.
“Hangzhou was just something I thought would be this year good preparation for the Australian Open and also something that would be very exciting for me to go and play,” he said.
World number one Novak Djokovic made light work of American John Isner and plays promising 21-year-old Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece in the last eight.
The defending champion from Serbia dismissed the 16th seed Isner 7-5, 6-3 in 74 minutes after taming Isner’s booming serve.
“It’s always a big challenge returning the serve of Isner,” said Djokovic, who is over the shoulder problem that curtailed his US Open defense.
“He’s got one of the biggest serves of all time, he’s one of the tallest guys ever to play tennis.”
The 32-year-old Djokovic is looking imperious, having not dropped a set in claiming the title in Tokyo last week and continuing that perfect record in Shanghai.
Also in the last eight on Friday, colorful Italian Fabio Fognini faces red-hot Russian Daniil Medvedev.
The fourth-ranked Medvedev was forced to sweat — and not just because of the Shanghai heat — after being 5-2 down in the first set to Canadian qualifier Vasek Pospisil.
The 23-year-old Medvedev eventually squeezed through 7-6 (9/7), 7-5.
“I was down five set points and 5-2 also,” said the US Open finalist, fast making a big name for himself as the man most likely to challenge Federer, Djokovic and Rafael Nadal.
“Usually the set is finished when it’s like this, so just try to win every point I had to face, and finally it worked out.”
Medvedev, who has been in eight finals this year, winning three of them, smashed his racquet as the frustration built and he threatened to boil over in the Shanghai sun.
“I usually don’t like to break racquets because it’s never beautiful,” he said.
The Spaniard Nadal is not in Shanghai because of a wrist injury.


Liverpool cleared to win Premier League at Anfield

Atletico Madrid’s Marcos Llorente scores a goal against Liverpool during their match in London. The Reds will play against Everton on June 21. (Reuters/File)
Updated 06 June 2020

Liverpool cleared to win Premier League at Anfield

  • All remaining 92 Premier League games this season will be played behind closed doors, but there are fears that hosting the game in Liverpool could encourage supporters to congregate around stadiums

LONDON: Premier League leaders Liverpool could claim a first title for 30 years at Anfield after the initial batch of fixtures of the restart was announced on Friday.
Jurgen Klopp’s men, with a commanding 25-point lead at the top of the table, were just two wins away from clinching the title before coronavirus forced the suspension of football in March.
Liverpool’s first match back is against Everton on June 21. The Merseyside derby is due to take place at Goodison Park, less than a mile from Anfield, but a venue has not been confirmed by the Premier League. Crystal Palace will then visit Anfield three days later.
Wins in both of those matches would guarantee Liverpool’s first English top-flight title since 1990. But if Manchester City lose at home to Arsenal on June 17, the Reds would be champions if they beat Everton.
Liverpool City Council’s safety advisory group will meet next week to make a decision on whether the game can go ahead at Goodison or should be moved to a neutral venue.
All remaining 92 Premier League games this season will be played behind closed doors, but there are fears that hosting the game in Liverpool could encourage supporters to congregate around stadiums.

SPEEDREAD

Liverpool’s first match back is against Everton on June 21. The Merseyside derby is due to take place at Goodison Park, less than a mile from Anfield, but a venue has not been confirmed by the Premier League. Crystal Palace will then visit Anfield three days later.

The only other match that could be moved to a neutral venue from the first three rounds of fixtures is Liverpool’s visit to City on July 2.
The mayor of Liverpool, Joe Anderson, voiced fears that “there would be many thousands of people who would turn up outside Anfield” on the day Liverpool’s long wait for a league title was ended.
That has been disputed by the club, who said they have engaged with supporters’ groups to make sure social-distancing guidelines are followed.
Aston Villa will host Sheffield United in the first match of “Project Restart,” followed by Arsenal’s trip to City on June 17.
Manchester United’s visit to Tottenham will spearhead the first full round of matches spread over four days from June 19 to 22.
Premier League CEO Richard Masters said: “We know it won’t be the same without our loyal supporters in stadiums but, together with our broadcast partners, we are able to ensure fans can watch or listen to each match live from home.”