Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer breezed into the quarter-finals of the Shanghai Masters on Thursday and Juan Martin del Potro defeated racquet-smashing Alexander Zverev. World no 1 Nadal blew away Fabio Fognini in 63 minutes and plays sixth seed Grigor Dimitrov as he pursues one of the few tournaments to have eluded him.
Timeless rival Federer was even faster, dismissing Ukrainian qualifier Alexandr Dolgopolov 6-4, 6-2 in 61 minutes. The 31-year-old Spanish ace, fresh off the back of triumphs at the US Open and China Open, anticipates a tough encounter against the Bulgarian Dimitrov.
“I played a very good match, I don’t know how many mistakes I made, but very few,” said the 16-time Grand Slam winner and top seed in Shanghai. “I have a tough match against Grigor and know I will have to play my best... but I am playing well.” Nadal, enjoying a late-career flourish, defeated Dimitrov on his way to winning the China Open on Sunday, his sixth title of the season. And he underlined his status as the man to beat in Shanghai as he battered the Italian Fognini 6-3, 6-1.
Dimitrov, chasing a spot at the season-ending ATP Finals in London, beat American Sam Querrey to set up a Chinese reunion with Nadal. Federer, the Swiss world number two, plays Richard Gasquet in the last eight on Friday after Gasquet outlasted fellow Frenchman Gilles Simon in a marathon three-setter. A mouthwatering Nadal-Federer final on Sunday awaits if the celebrated pair continue at the current rate.