Shanghai Flashback: Roger Federer tops Roberto Bautista Agut in three sets

World no. 2 and the defending champion Roger Federer reached the quarter-final in Shanghai 2018 after a hard-fought 6-3, 2-6, 6-4 victory over a former finalist Roberto Bautista Agut in an hour and 52 minutes. Federer had won the previous seven encounters against the Spaniard and 17 sets in a row, including the first one in this clash before Bautista Agut raised his level in set number two to dominate the return and leave Roger far behind. Still, the Swiss lost five points behind the initial shot in the deciding set and moved forward with a late break in the ninth game. Federer won two points more than Bautista Agut, serving well in the sets he won to keep his rival under pressure and converting three out of nine break points to wrap up the victory in just under two hours.

The Swiss fired 37 winners and 35 unforced errors, overpowering his rival’s 23-24 ratio and earning the win in the mid-range and most extended rallies. Interestingly, Roberto had the advantage in the shortest points up to four strokes, but it was not enough to carry him towards the first victory over the great rival in eight matches. Roger saved a break chance in the opener’s third game with a service winner and earned a break in the next one when Bautista Agut sent a clear forehand down the line wide. The Swiss confirmed the break with a hold at 15, and the opener was in his hands after a volley winner at 5-3. Federer made a big step towards the finish line when he converted the third break chance at the start of the second set, the one that would soon turn into a disaster for him!

In Shanghai 2018, Roger Federer defeated Roberto Bautista Agut in three sets.

Roberto claimed 15 out of 24 on the return to grab three breaks and storm over Roger for a comfortable 6-2! The Spaniard was in a challenging position, recovering his strokes immediately after getting broken in the first game and breaking back at love in game two with a backhand return winner. In game three, Roberto saved a break point with a service winner and moved ahead with a forehand down the line winner for his second break in a row and a 3-1 advantage. Federer lost the ground completely in those moments. He netted a backhand after a deep return from the Spaniard in the eighth game to drop the set 6-2, having to play on a higher level if he wanted to end the downfall and prevail in the decider.

The Spaniard saved a break chance in the opening game with a forehand drive volley winner and had an opportunity to create the gap in game number two. Roberto sent a forehand wide in one of the crucial points of the entire encounter, giving Roger an escape. Federer wasted another break chance in game three, with five easy holds after that that kept them locked up at 4-4. The ninth game proved crucial, as Bautista Agut squandered three game points before Roger found a way to break him with a solid forehand attack. A few minutes later, the Swiss sealed the deal with a hold at love that propelled him into the last eight for the 78th time at the Masters 1000 level.

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