Federer's three-set victory over the Spaniard followed up his opening-round match against Philipp Kohlschreiber that also went the distance. Federer has had an up-and-down start to this event—and the 2019 season—but playing two three-setters in a row might actually help him. This is the 37-year-old's first tournament since losing to Stefanos Tsitsipas in the round of 16 at the Australian Open. These lengthier matches are giving him an opportunity to work through his struggles on the court.
Next up for the world No. 7 is a meeting with Marton Fucsovics for a spot in the semifinals. The two played against each other at the 2018 Australian Open, where Federer won 6-4, 7-6 (3), 6-2 in the round of 16. But Fucsovics is in decent form coming into this match, so it's hard to imagine this being an easy win for Federer.
Meanwhile, top-seeded Kei Nishikori was upset by Hubert Hurkacz on Wednesday. The Polish 22-year-old came away with a 7-5, 5-7, 6-2 victory, opening up a major opportunity for the rest of the field. Nishikori has been playing some great tennis this year, so his absence will make things easier on everybody.
• Rafael Nadal, Alexander Zverev and Sloane Stephens headline the Abierto Mexicano Telcel. Watch live coverage on Tennis Channel Plus beginning Monday, 2/25 at 5:00 pm ET.
• Watch Roger Federer and Kei Nishikori live from the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championship starting Monday, 2/25 at 5:00 am ET
ATP Sao Paulo
• Tennis Channel Plus features live coverage of the Brasil Open beginning Monday, 2/25 at 10:30 am ET