World number 2 and defending Shanghai champion Roger Federer is through to the quarter-final after a hard-fought 6-3 2-6 6-4 win over a former finalist Roberto Bautista Agut in an hour and 52 minutes. Federer has won all the previous seven matches against the Spaniard and 17 sets in a row including the first one today before Bautista Agut raised his level in set number two to dominate on the return and leave Roger far behind.
Still, the Swiss lost just five points in the deciding set and he moved forward with a late break in the ninth game. This was the 38th win for Federer in 2018 and his 361st at Masters 1000 level, staying in contention for the third Shanghai crown.
Federer won just two points more than Bautista Agut but he served well in the sets he won to keep his rival under the pressure, converting three out of nine break points to wrap up the win in just under two hours. The Swiss fired 37 winners and 35 unforced errors, overpowering a 23-24 ratio from his rival and securing the win in the mid-range and longest rallies.
Interestingly, Roberto had the advantage in the shortest points up to four strokes but it wasn't enough to carry him towards the first win over the great rival in eight matches. Roger saved a break point in the third game of the match with a service winner and he earned a break in the following game when Bautista Agut sent a clear forehand down the line wide.
The Swiss confirmed the break with a hold at 15 in game five and the opener was in his hands after a volley winner at 5-3, moving 6-3 ahead after just 30 minutes and hoping for more of the same in the rest of the encounter.
Federer made a big step towards the finish line when he converted the third break point at the start of the second set but despite that it turned out to be a disaster for him, losing 15 out of 24 points in his games to suffer three breaks and hand the set to his rival! The Spaniard was in a tough position but he regrouped his game immediately after losing serve in that opening game, breaking back at love in game two with a backhand return winner that gave him a huge boost and the momentum to fight even harder.
Roberto saved a break point in game three with a service winner and he 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 and he netted a backhand after a deep return from the Spaniard in the eighth game to drop it 6-2, having to play on a higher level if he wanted to end this downfall and prevail in the deciding set.
There, the Spaniard saved a break point in the opening game with a forehand drive volley winner and he had a chance to create the gap with a break point of his own in game number two. He sent a forehand wide and this was one of the crucial points of the entire match, giving Roger an escape and more free room.
Federer had the opportunity to jump into a lead but his backhand landed long in the third game to waste another break point and there were five easy holds after that, staying locked up at 4-4. The ninth game proved to be crucial and the Spaniard squandered three game points before Roger found the way to break him with a solid forehand attack, sealing the deal with a hold at love in game 10 that propelled him into the last eight for the 78th time at Masters 1000 level. Third round result: