Read & Watch: Federer Avoids Another Shanghai Stunner
Federer broke twice in the opener and sailed through his service games throughout the 86-minute encounter, never facing a break point and being pushed to Deuce only once, in the fourth game of the second set. But Federer quickly restored order with a stab backhand volley on full stretch and holding when Ramos-Vinolas netted a backhand.
The Swiss raced forward often, winning 81 per cent (17/21) of his net points and taking advantage of the quick conditions in Shanghai. Ramos-Vinolas recovered well in the second set, forcing a tie-break, but Federer came back from 1/4 down in the tie-break to advance.
“[I] had a really good first set. I focused and had good energy, because when you travel around the globe, you're missing a bit of energy. Those first few games or matches can be sometimes a bit tricky. So I thought that went very well for me,” Federer said.
“Serve was solid. I was hitting my spots and really was never in trouble there. But of course all of a sudden, being in a breaker, calls out for different play sometimes and different momentum. He had his chances, but it was a nice comeback for me, and overall, I was very happy.”
The Spaniard upset Federer during the 2015 Shanghai second round, snapping an 0-15 record against Top 10 players to stun the defending champion in three sets. The upset dominated Federer's thoughts before their rematch.
“I was thinking about it. Watched highlights. Remember how it felt. I had my chances. I won many more points that time than I lost, so I should have actually won that match,” he said. “But he did very well there and things turn very quickly here in Shanghai. Of course that got my attention. I know I also played him another time where I beat him very easily in Wimbledon, but [it] doesn't matter what happened there. Shanghai, in that match, to play him again in the same circumstances, basically I knew [he] could be dangerous, and that's why I'm very pleased how I was able to control the match out there today.”
Federer will next meet Belgian David Goffin or Kazakhstan's Mikhail Kukushkin for a place in the quarter-finals. The 13th-seeded Goffin beat France's Richard Gasquet 6-2, 6-3, and Kukushkin knocked out #NextGenATP Serbian Miomir Kecmanovic on Monday.
Goffin upset Federer in similarly quick conditions during the 2017 Nitto ATP Finals semi-finals, although Federer leads their FedEx ATP Head2Head series 9-1. The 38-year-old is going for his third Shanghai title (2014, 2017) and 29th Masters 1000 crown. He has already guaranteed his place at the season-ending Nitto ATP Finals, to be held 10-17 November at The O2 in London.
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