Federer and Zhang eased into the next round of doubles

Doubles attention is usually the domain of world No. 1 brothers Bob and Mike Bryan, but at the Shanghai Rolex Masters on Monday it was Roger Federer and China’s Zhang Ze who were centre stage and the focus of the day.

Federer rarely plays doubles, but this year in Shanghai he’s stepping out with China’s best, Zhang Ze. And the twosome certainly delighted fans when they easily defeated Kevin Anderson of South Africa and Dimitry Tursunov of Russia as 6-2, 6-1 in just 46 minutes.

“When I arrived here, they announced we were going to play doubles together, there was huge excitement,” Federer said. “They were going to put us on center court on Monday.  I thought, that's great, that's good for the game, good for tennis here in China.  That's kind of the ultimate goal, to partner up with a Chinese up-and-coming player and promote the game at the same time.”

The match started with the Federer-Zhang duo breaking Anderson’s serve in the opening game. They solidified that first set lead by breaking Tursunov’s serve at 0-40 in the seventh game. In the second set, Federer and Zhang won every game but when Anderson served in the fifth game.

Zhang understood that the doubles alliance with Federer came with a great deal of upside for him.

“Over the past few days, we practiced together,” Zhang said. “He actually invited me to practice with him. So I'm thrilled to hear that because it was really fascinating to me, he is easy-going, he's nice, and he's fun.  So we had very good communications. Then, of course, I learned a lot from him, not just the playing skills, but also the professionalism. I think I can be more professional.”

Federer said his partnership with Zhang was good for tennis in China. "It's been a pleasure playing with him today and I'm looking forward to the next match and enjoying this great atmosphere again. That's kind of the ultimate goal, to partner up with a Chinese up‑and‑coming player and promote the game at the same time," said the 17-time Grand Slam champion. "I'm just so happy for Zhang Ze, that he played really well.  I really am, because he couldn't have played any better."

Federer said he hoped to see more players from the Asian continent break through. "We had Paradorn Srichaphan, we have Kei Nishikori from Japan. Hopefully we'll have more and more players coming up," said Federer. "By having such a great tournament and all the top players coming here to Shanghai, I think that's only going to help it... I think we all really want something to happen in a big way in the next 10, 20 years here."

Federer/Zhang face off against fifth seeds Ivan Dodig and Marcelo Melo in the next round.

Date: 7th October 2013, Source: Shanghai Rolex Masters


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