Roger Federer’s trademark cool spectacularly deserted him and he was given a point penalty as he followed Novak Djokovic out of the Shanghai Masters quarterfinals yesterday.
Alexander Zverev defeated the usually unflappable Swiss 6-3, 6-7 (7/9), 6-3 in a dramatic match that saw Federer twice hit the ball out of the court in anger and row with the umpire.
The sixth-ranked Zverev, 22, faces Matteo Berrettini in the semifinals on Saturday after the Italian defeated Austria’s Dominic Thiem in straight sets.
Former number one Federer evaded questions about the umpire afterwards, shrugging his shoulders and firing back at one reporter: “So you can write something on Twitter, yeah?
The 20-time Grand Slam champion saved five match points to force a deciding set, but he then became engaged in a continual war of words with the chair umpire.
His point deduction came at 3-0 and 30-15 down in the third set, as the 38-year-old threatened to unravel and he pinged another ball towards the crowd.
Federer said that he “played alright”, but was effusive about the rise of Zverev, Daniil Medvedev and Stefanos Tsitsipas, all in the semifinals in Shanghai.
“The young guys are knocking on the door big time, it’s exciting, it’s great,” he said.
Zverev has 11 career titles, but only one arrived this year.
Meanwhile, Tsitsipas said that he scares the “Big Three” after the young Greek stunned world number one Djokovic in their quarter-final.
The 21-year-old has now defeated Djokovic, Federer and Rafael Nadal this year to burnish his fast-growing reputation.
On Saturday though he faces the red-hot 23-year-old Medvedev -- who he has never beaten.
Tsitsipas recovered from losing the opening three games in just seven minutes to shock the reigning champion Djokovic 3-6, 7-5, 6-3.
Calling it the best comeback of his nascent career, the seventh-ranked Tsitsipas said he had dreamt of beating the “Big Three”.
It was a double celebration for Tsitsipas, who also confirmed his place in the prestigious season-ending ATP Finals.