Roger Federer overcame Kei Nishikori in straight sets to make it to the Shanghai Masters semi-final where he will take on Borna Coric. Federer won 6-4, 7-6.
Federer will play Nishikori in the quarter-final of the 2018 Shanghai Masters, although both players had to battle to get there, both facing tough three-setters in their respective third round matches. The match will be played on Friday in Shanghai.
Nishikori had to overcome big serving American Sam Querry, winning 7–5 in the third set, whilst Federer was made to struggle for his second successive match in Shanghai.
Having had to battle past Daniil Medvedev in the second round, the Swiss number one seed yet again found himself up against a doughty opponent in the form of World number 28 Roberto Batiusta Agut.
Federer took the first set easily enough, but the Spaniard hit back hard in the second, and, with the match going with serve in the third, a single break was enough to give the 37-year-old victory.
Federer, top seed in Shanghai, will start favourite against Nishikori, who is seeded eighth this week. Certainly their head-to-head record suggests a Swiss victory. The two men have played each other seven times previously, with Federer leading the series by five wins to two.
More importantly, the two wins by the Japanese have been some time ago, with the most recent coming at the Miami Masters in 2014. Federer has won all the subsequent matches between the two men, with their last encounter being the Australian Open Round of 16, which Federer won in four sets.
What may give Federer supporters pause for thought, however, may be the suspicion that he is not at his best, and that Nishikori may have more to offer, particularly in terms of return of service, than either of his previous two opponents.
There may also be a suspicion that he is under-cooked in terms of his preparation for this tournament, which is his first ATP event since he suffered a shock fourth round defeat to John Millman at the US Open (although he did play the Laver Cup in Chicago).
Nishikori, by contrast, has been playing regularly, and reached the final of the Japanese Open last week.
However, he lost to Medvedev in the final in Tokyo, and given that Federer beat the Russian on Wednesday, albeit with some difficulty, the Swiss player is likely to have too many weapons in his armoury for his Japanese opponent.