Roger Federer of Switzerland in action against Kei Nishikori of Japan on Friday. Photo: REUTERS/Aly Song

SHANGHAI – Roger Federer blazed into the Shanghai Masters semi-finals with a 6-4, 7-6 (7/4) victory over Kei Nishikori as the Swiss great's title defence belatedly caught fire on Friday.

The 20-time Grand Slam champion and top seed will meet 13th seed Borna Coric on Saturday after the Croatian defeated unseeded Australian Matthew Ebden 7-5, 6-4.

The other semi-final tees up Novak Djokovic against young German star Alexander Zverev, just the second time they will have met.

The 37-year-old Federer was forced to battle through the first two matches of his title defence, first to Daniil Medvedev and then Roberto Bautista Agut.

He put Nishikori under the cosh immediately, breaking the eighth seed in the first game of both sets, though the Japanese did well to recover and force the second-set tie break.

Kei Nishikori in action at the Shanghai Masters on Friday. Photo: REUTERS/Aly Song
Kei Nishikori in action at the Shanghai Masters on Friday. Photo: REUTERS/Aly Song

Results from the Shanghai Masters on Friday (x denotes seed):

Quarter-finals

Roger Federer (SUI x1) bt Kei Nishikori (JPN x8) 6-4, 7-6 (7/4)

Borna Coric (CRO x13) bt Matthew Ebden (AUS) 7-5, 6-4

Alexander Zverev (GER x4) bt Kyle Edmund (GBR x11) 6-4, 6-4

Novak Djokovic (SRB x2) bt Kevin Anderson (RSA x7) 7-6 (7/1), 6-3


Agence France-Presse (AFP)