Roger Federer rolled in his first real match at the Paris Masters this week. After a walkover yesterday over Milos Raonic, Federer cruised past Fabio Fognini 6-4, 6-3 to advance to the quarterfinals and keep his slim hopes for a year-end No. 1 ranking alive.
“I think both of us were far from our best, but we fought with what we had and at the end I think I maybe served a bit better in the important moments than Fabio did,” Federer said. “Off the baseline, it was tough. He takes the ball early and can really redirect really well. But I’m very happy because it means I’m moving on in the tournament.”
Federer, who is seeking a 100th career title, will next face Kei Nishikori on Friday after the Japenese str knocked out Kevin Anderson 6-4, 6-4. Federer leads Nishikori 6-2 including a win last month in Shanghai.
New No. 1 Novak Djokovic continued his bid to finish the year on top and the Serb won his 20th straight, this one by retirement as Damir Dzumhur had to stop down 6-1, 2-1. Djokovic has now taken his last 30 sets, a personal best.
“Reflecting on what I’ve been through in the past year, it’s quite a phenomenal achievement,” said Djokovic of his return to No .1″ “Of course, I’m very, very happy and proud about it.
“I always believe in myself, but it was highly improbable, considering my ranking and the way I played and felt on the court. I’ll probably be able to speak more profoundly about it when the season is done and hopefully if I get to finish as No. 1.”
Next for Novak is a date in the quarterfinals with Marin Cilic. The Croat ousted the Andre Agassi-led Grigor Dimitrov 7-6(5), 6-4.
Djokovic has won 15 of 17 against Cilic but they have split two meetings this year.
“I had a very good head-to-head record until that match a few years ago here,” said Djokovic of facing Cilic. “He likes playing indoors. Obviously he has a big serve and a big game from back of the court. It’s just a very powerful style of tennis.
“It’s going to be a tough one, tough to receive his missiles. His first serves are really, really fast, and he uses a lot of rotation and variation with his serve. If he has a high first serve percentage, then it’s obviously a big challenge to play him because he’s got a really big game from back of the court.”
Cilic is closing in on an ATP Finals berth.
Defending champion Jack Sock continued to show signs of life after a horrible year. The American got past lucky loser Malek Jaziri, but will now run into Dominic Thiem. The Austrian Thiem went the distance to defeat Borna Coric 6-7(3), 6-2, 7-5.
“It’s always fun to play him. We’ve had some great matches in the past. Haven’t played for a little while now, so I’m looking forward to that one,” said Thiem who leads Sock 2-1. “Of course I’m trying everything to stop him, but it’s going to be tough, especially here in Bercy.”
In the first quarterfinal of the day, young big men Alexander Zverev and Karen Khachanov collide. Zverev eased past the diminutive Diego Schwartzman 6-4, 6-2.
Khachanov saved two match points in a serving fest against John Isner 6-4, 6-7(9), 7-6(8). The German has won both meetings against Khachanov.
FRIDAY PARIS INDOORS SCHEDULE
Court Central 2:00 Pm
4 Alexander Zverev v Karen Khachanov
16 Jack Sock v 6 Dominic Thiem
Not Before 7:30 Pm
5 Marin Cilic v 2 Novak Djokovic
Not Before 8:30 Pm
10 Kei Nishikori v 3 Roger Federer
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