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Roger Federer is going for his third Rolex Shanghai Masters title this week.

Federer Saves Set Points, Sets Up Zverev QF

Swiss will next meet Zverev for place in Shanghai SF

Roger Federer was pushed like few times before in his FedEx ATP Head2Head rivalry with David Goffin on Thursday at the Rolex Shanghai Masters. But the outcome followed a familiar pattern.

Federer saved five set points in the opener and then rolled into his 87th ATP Masters 1000 quarter-final 7-6(7), 6-4. "I never really felt like I had the upper hand over David today. I thought he did a really good job. He was so much better than at the US Open," said Federer, who beat Goffin 6-2, 6-2, 6-0 in New York.

The Swiss will next meet German Alexander Zverev, who beat Russian Andrey Rublev 6-0, 7-6(4) to further bolster his Nitto ATP Finals chances. The 22-year-old currently holds the eighth and final qualification spot in the ATP Race To London with 2,435 points, only 50 points behind seventh-placed Roberto Bautista Agut of Spain.

"I think it was very good tennis, but I know against Roger it's going to be very, very difficult. He's going to try to do different things, and it's going to be a difficult match," Zverev said.

Federer and Zverev last faced off in the semi-finals of the 2018 Nitto ATP Finals, which Zverev won en route to the biggest title of his career.

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Goffin had the right plan against the 38-year-old Swiss, charging forward and playing aggressively. The Belgian had beaten Federer only once in their 10 meetings, at the 2017 Nitto ATP Finals. But after he erased a set point at 4-5 on his serve, Goffin broke Federer and had the set on his racquet, serving at 6-5.

Two missed forehands and a double fault, though, saw three set points come and go in the 12th game. In the tie-break, Goffin had a set point as Federer served at 5/6, but the Swiss erased it with a laser inside-out forehand. Goffin saw another set point on his serve, at 7/6, but a backhand wide kept Federer in it, and the two-time Shanghai champion clinched his second set point.

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"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. 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," Federer said.

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

Goffin rebounded in the second set, but Federer broke in the seventh game when Goffin netted a forehand approach. The Belgian was looking to add 90 points to his ATP Race To London tally by making the quarter-finals. The 2017 Nitto ATP Finals runner-up (l. to Dimitrov) is currently in 10th place in the Race (2,325 points), 30 points behind ninth-placed Matteo Berrettini of Italy.

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