Federer clinches Shanghai Masters, beats Simon

Federer clinches Shanghai Masters, beats Simon

Sunday, October 12, 2014 11:58 am

Roger Federer kisses the trophy

Roger Federer kisses the trophy

Roger Federer has won the Shanghai Masters, by beating Gilles Simon of France in two straight sets, 7-6 (8/6), 7-6 (7/2).

It was Federer’s 81st career win.

The 17-time Grand Slam winner, who will move up to world number two in the rankings, next week claimed his second straight Masters title after also winning in Cincinnati in August.

To reach the finals, Federer had blown away world number one Novak Djokovic in the semi-finals but he found a stubborn opponent in Simon at Shanghai’s QiZhong Tennis Centre.

The Swiss veteran started poorly against 29th-ranked Simon’s confrontational baseline play and he lost his serve in the very first game.

Federer changed tactics midway through the first set, tentatively approaching the net in a bid to regain the initiative.

But Simon was unfazed, slamming his shots with power when Federer was in a forward position and forcing him to reconsider the tactic.

Shouts of “Come on Roger” were being drowned out by “Allez Gilles!” as the crowd sensed an upset could be on the cards.

But as Simon served for the set at 5-4, Federer broke back and he was in the ascendancy as he earned two break points in Simon’s next service game.

However, he lost the first by dragging his shot too far to his opponent’s right, and the second when Simon bravely met him at the net. Simon then forced the tie-break with an ace.

The pair were evenly matched during a tight tie-break, but Simon finally lost the set as he attempted a serve-volley, allowing Federer pick out a gap to his right.

The players fought to a stalemate in the second set, but Federer’s experience showed as he took a firm grip on the decisive tie-break to win it 7-2 as Simon netted a return.

Federer will now celebrate his 23rd Masters victory as he moves up one place to world number two, displacing Rafael Nadal, in the new rankings released next week.

His previous best showing at the Masters 1000 event was as runner up in 2010, although he did win in Shanghai when it hosted the Tennis Masters Cup in 2006 and 2007.

Meanwhile Simon will return to the top 20 on the back of reaching only his second Masters final, and his first in six years after losing to Andy Madrid at Madrid in 2008.

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