Paris | Federer opens his challenge in Bercy
Roger Federer, the world No.3 and former Paris champion, eased past Fabio Fognini in 73-minutes to each the quarter-finals to edge closer to a mouth-watering semi-final with the current world No.2, Novak Djokovic who will be named No.1 on Monday.
I think both of us were far from our best, but fought with what we had and at the end I think I served a bit better in the important moments than Fabio did. Roger Federer
In what his first match of the tournament following a bye and a walkover by Milos Raonic, Federer made light work of his Italian opponent dismissing the13th seed 6-2 6-3 as he progresses to what he hopes will be his 100th career title on Sunday.
The Swiss icon saved four of the five break points he faced and converted four of his own six chances to reach the last eight in Bercy for the eighth time. He dropped just 16 points in nine service games and struck 21 winners and made a similar amount of unforced errors, Fognini in contrast made 14 winners to 25 unforced errors including six double faults.
Federer converted his second break point chance in the third game to take a 2-1 lead, after forcing Fognini into an error and then went up a double break in the fifth game for a 4-1 lead, when the Italian netted an easy forehand.
Fognini hit a backhand down the line winner to pull one break back in the sixth game for 2-4 and brought up two more break points in the 10th game, when Federer was serving for the set, but failed to convert either allowing the third seed to claim the set after 41-minutes.
In the second set Federer was solid on his serve breaking through in the fifth and the sealing victory with his second break on a Fognini double fault maintain hs record against the Italian of never dropping a set against him in their four meetings.
Federer will take on either Kei Nishikori for a place in the semi-finals.
“I think both of us were far from our best, but fought with what we had and at the end I think I served a bit better in the important moments than Fabio did. Off the baseline it was baseline. He takes the ball early and can really redirect really well. I am very happy because it means I am moving on in the tournament”, Federer said following his win.
Meanwhile Nishikori maintained his improved performances with a resounding 6-4 6-4 win over Kevin Anderson, to avenge his final defeat at the hands of the South African in last week’s Vienna final, for his 42md in of the season.
“I think the first game was everything today. I think I was able to have a good start,” Nishikori, who opened the match by breaking Anderson’s first service game, said. “After that, I couldn’t get any points on return, so I took some risks and played more aggressive, and I did it. I’m happy to play well today.
“I had to fix some things to take my revenge on Kevin. Maybe he didn’t play his best today, but I think I played good tennis.”
The 28-year-old Japanese has only beaten Federer twice in eight attempts, the last occasion being the Shanghai Masters last month.
“I have to figure out how to play Roger again, but I think I’ve been playing well the last couple of weeks so hopefully I can bring that again tomorrow,” Nishikori said ahead of his meeting.
Nishikori is currently ninth in the race to the eight-player ATP Finals in London, but with Rafael Nadal and Juan Martin del Potro both withdrawing from the ongoing Paris Masters 1000 event due to injury, their participation in the season finale is in doubt.
Croatia’s Marin Cilic and Austria’s Dominic Thiem, who also advanced earlier in the day to the quarterfinals, fill the seventh and eighth spots, while American John Isner, beaten on Thursday Karen Khachanov in a gruelling battle of serves 6-4 7-6(4) 7-6(8) remains in 10th place behind Nishikori.