Following impressive showings in their respective third round match-ups, third seed Roger Federer and France’s Julien Benneteau will meet for the eighth time on the professional tour in the quarter-final round in Shanghai. Federer leads the head-to-head series 5-2, yet Benneteau holds the victory in their most recent hard court encounter last season in Rotterdam.
Federer booked his spot in the quarter-final round of the Shanghai Rolex Masters with a 6-4, 6-2 win over Roberto Bautista Agut in 1 hour and 13 minutes. The Swiss star struck 33 winners and 8 aces to secure the victory – a far stronger showing than his opening round match against Leonardo Mayer.
“I think I definitely played better,” said Federer, in comparison to his opening win over Leonardo Mayer on Wednesday. “I had a better understanding of how the balls are reacting, the court is playing, and just conditions in general at night.
“I definitely think he let me play a bit more from the baseline, whereas Mayer really took big cuts at the ball which made it really difficult for me to control the back of the court. I think I was just overall striking the ball better. I’m glad I got a straight set win tonight.”
Next for Federer is Julien Benneteau, who picked up impressive wins this week at the Shanghai Rolex Masters. He first upset world No. 10 Grigor Dimitrov in straight sets before toppling Kei Nishikori-vanquisher Jack Sock 6-3, 6-4 in 1 hour and 11 minutes to set up his quarter-final berth against the Swiss No. 1.
This marks the eighth time that Federer and Benneteau will meet on the tour and could serve as a more competitive encounter than many fans and pundits would assume. The Frenchman holds the most recent hard court win against Federer, as he defeated the 17-time Grand Slam champion at the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament. While that may be the case, Federer has clearly shaken off the cobwebs from his 3-week vacation, and will eventually edge his way into the semi-final of the tournament.
Prediction: Roger Federer in Three Sets