Federer squeaks past Goffin to book spot in Shanghai quarterfinals

Federer squeaks past Goffin to book spot in Shanghai quarterfinals

The former champion, who fended off five set points in the opening set, extended his lead to 10-1 in their head-to-head series.

It wasn’t an easy win but Roger Federer is through to the Rolex Shanghai Masters quarterfinals, his 87th ATP Masters 1000 final eight appearance. On Thursday in Shanghai, Federer improved his lead against David Goffin to 10-1 after a hard-earned 7-6 (7), 6-4 victory over the Belgian.

"I never really felt like I had the upper hand over David today," said Federer. "I thought he did a really good job. He was so much better than at the US Open."

After his 6-2, 6-2, 6-0 loss to Federer in the US Open fourth round in September, Goffin came prepared for the Thursday challenge as he did not make things easy for the 38-year-old Swiss.

After saving a set point in the 10th game, Goffin hit a brilliant forehand pass to secure the first break on the match in the next game to put himself in the driver’s seat. Having fended off three set points in the 12th game to send the set to a tiebreak, Federer held off two more before taking the set in an hour and 10 minutes.

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Both players continued to play well but it was Goffin who blinked first in the seventh game of the second set to give Federer a 4-3 lead. Three games later, the two-time tournament champion closed out the match in straight sets after an hour and 54 minutes.

"It was really him that was able to, I don't want to say dictate play, but I think he was very clear in his shot selection, when to do what also in terms of the scoreline," said Federer. "I thought he took really a lot of good decisions, and he was super fast on his feet today, which I think made it really hard for me to get my freebies and winners off the baseline, because he was getting to all of them.

"It was a really tough match today. I think that first set maybe ended up being key."

For a spot in the semifinals, Federer will square off against either Alexander Zverev or Andrey Rublev.