Roger Federer moved another step closer to earning his second Shanghai Rolex Masters title on Friday with a 7-5, 6-4 win over Richard Gasquet to advance to the semi-finals, where he will play No. 16 seed Juan Martin del Potro.
Considering Federer entered the match having won the past 15 sets against the Frenchman, all by margins of 6-4 or greater, it looked like the fans in Shanghai might be in for a surprise when Gasquet held a breakpoint while up 3-2 in the opening set.
But Federer held him off and would break at 5-5 to give him the edge that allowed him to win the opening set. He’d break in Gasquet’s next service game as well to jump to an early lead in the second set, but the 31-year-old refused to lose touch, getting back on serving immediately.
However, when Federer broke for the third time in the match at 3-3, he would not relinquish the advantage again and would close out the quarter-final in one hour and 18 minutes.
Federer owns a 16-6 lead in his FedEx ATP Head2Head series with del Potro, including wins in three of their past four matches. But in September, del Potro prevented the first Federer-Rafael Nadal match at the US Open when he eliminated the Swiss in four sets in the quarter-finals.
The No. 2 seed has not dropped a set this week in his pursuit of a third ATP World Tour Masters 1000 title this season (Indian Wells, Miami), while del Potro has been pushed to a decider in three of his four matches.