Roger Federer made an impressive start to his Paris campaign on Thursday night, beating Fabio Fognini in straight sets, 6-4 6-3, to reach the quarterfinals of the ATP Masters 1000 event.
Federer had won all three of his previous meetings with Fognini—never losing a set, either—and that trend continued as he broke Fognini in the third game of the match and never really looked back. He eventually broke the Italian one last time at love to close it out after an hour and 13 minutes.
The Swiss finished the match with an even winners-to-unforced errors differential, 21 to 21, while Fognini’s game went somewhat awry with a -11 differential of winners to unforced errors, 14 to 25.
For both players it was a first match of the week after a first-round bye and second-round walkover.
"You can’t expect too much—it was a third round, but it was basically a first round. Fabio and myself hadn’t played at all this week,” Federer said. "When you don’t play any matches yet your rhythm is a bit off, and obviously there’s this electricity here and everybody expects you to play the best tennis. It’s really hard to do. Both of us were far from our best. But we fought with what we had, and at the end maybe I served a bit better in the important moments."
Federer is seeking his 100th career ATP title in Paris this week—he won his 99th in Basel last week.
“It’s a different altitude to Basel here in Paris, and the balls aren’t the same —it’s hard to find the zones consistently time and time again,” Federer said of the transition. “I hope it’s going to be a touch better again tomorrow. The rhythm is important—and how you back up your serve, to me, is always key. Do I serve and volley a bit, do I have variation, what do I do—I just have to find the right mix, really.
Awaiting the No. 3-seeded Federer in Friday’s quarterfinals will be No. 10 seed Kei Nishikori, who pulled off a minor upset in the last match of the day, beating No. 7 seed Kevin Anderson, 6-4 6-4.
Since losing two of their first three career meetings, Federer has beaten Nishikori the last five times they’ve played, most recently a straight set win in the quarterfinals of Shanghai just a few weeks ago.
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