Roger Federer has marked a winning return to play with another between-the-legs tennis shot in his 6-3, 6-4 victory over John Isner at the Shanghai Masters.
Federer was playing his first match since the US Open, where he lost to Novak Djokovic in the semifinals, but showed few signs of rustiness as he moved into the third round, joining Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray and Djokovic.
The third-seeded Swiss broke Isner's big serve twice, but the highlight of his win came in the second set when he chased down a lob and flicked the ball back through his legs. Isner was so surprised, he put his volley into the net.
Federer has successfully pulled off the shot – also known as a "tweener" – at the previous two US Opens as well as at the Dubai Open in 2007.
"I'm hitting that shot so well now, it's almost the most consistent shot in tennis these days," Federer joked.
The top-ranked Nadal, fresh from winning the Japan Open on Sunday, began his quest for an eighth title of the season with a 6-4, 6-4 win over Switzerland’s world number 21 Stanislas Wawrinka.
Wawrinka, a surprise quarterfinalist at the US Open, hit 32 winners to Nadal's 17 and eight aces to Nadal's two – but also finished with 36 unforced errors.
"Wawrinka is a very good player and it's very difficult to have a victory today in straight sets," Nadal said.
swissinfo.ch and agencies