Fabio Fognini is looking mighty fabulous these days in tennis circles.|
The dynamic Italian is having the best season of his career and on June 10th of this year he ascended to the illustrious top 10 for the first time at aged 32. On July 15, he reached a career-high No. 9 milestone in the ATP rankings.
Nowadays, the 10th-seeded Fognini is working towards another hopeful goal of making it to the year-end ATP Finals held in London in November.
"It's a dream," Fognini said of the possibility of competing in the year-end final. "I think if I play good, I still have (a) chance. If not, I go home and enjoy family. They are the most important thing of my life."
For now, Fognini isn't going anywhere but to his Shanghai hotel for a good night's sleep before playing third-seeded Daniil Medvedev of Russia in the quarterfinals on Friday. So, his wife, 2015 U.S. Open champion Flavia Penetta, pregnant with their second child, and 2-year-old son, Federico, will have to continue to wait for his return home.
Every match Fognini wins places him closer to the possibility of playing in London. On Thursday, Fognini upset seventh-seed Karen Khachanov of Russia 6-3, 7-5 to reach the Rolex Shanghai Masters quarterfinals.
Interestingly, this marked only the second time Fognini and Khachanov have played each other with the first one taking place in Beijing last week. Khachanov won their quarterfinal outing last week 3-6, 6-3, 6-1.
"I'm happy - happy because I was losing to him last week," Fognini said. "I was playing really good alsoâ¦.I think today I manage everything better than the last week, so I'm really happy with my performance."
Next up for Fognini is Russian Daniil Medvedev, who is quickly becoming a key tennis headliner.
Until this summer, the third-seeded Medvedev was a talented prospect looking to orchestrate his big splash in the game. Now he's on quite the sensational roll, having reached five consecutive finals en route to Shanghai.
Medvedev's now leads the tour with most matches won this season at 56. The 23-year-old, who reached his first major final at the U.S. Open last month, became the youngest finalist at a major since Novak Djokovic at the 2010 U.S. Open finalist - he was also 23.
The Russian had a tough outing on Thursday against Canadian qualifier Vasek Pospisil before scoring a 7-6 (5), 7-5 round-of-16 win.
In the first set, Pospisil failed to take advantage of five set points. He served for the set at 5-3, held a 0-40 advantage on Medvedev's serve in the 10th game and had two set points in the tiebreaker.
"Possibly I said to myself, âOkay, the set is over, but I still knew that I have to try to win every point," Medvedev said. "I was down five set points, and 5-2 also. Usually the set is finished when it's like this, so (I) just try to win every point I had to face, and finally it worked out."
What's On Tap For Friday
All the quarterfinals are now set in stone and there's an exciting lineup ahead.
Top seed Novak Djokovic will take on sixth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas, who survived a 7-5, 3-6, 7-6 (5) thriller against Hubert Hukacz of Poland.
Djokovic had little trouble scoring a 7-5, 6-3 win over 16th seed John Isner. Djokovic now is on a winning streak of 24 sets here in Asia dating back to when he won this title without dropping a set last year. He also performed the straight-set victory throughout his run to the Japan Open title in Tokyo last week.
Djokovic, who has a 48-8 win-loss record for the season, is split at one match apiece with Tsitsipas. The Greek won their first encounter in Toronto in 2018, but Djokovic reigned supreme in straight sets in this year's Madrid final.
Second seed Roger Federer waded through a particularly tough first set, in which he faced five set points before eventually bypassing 13th seed David Goffin of Belgium 7-6 (7), 6-4.
"I never really felt like I had the upper hand over David," Federer said. "I thought he did a really good job. I thought he took really a lot of good decisions, and he was super-fast on his feet, which I think made it really hard for me to get my freebies and winners off the baseline, because he was getting to all of them."
Federer will have to bypass fifth seed Alexander Zverev if he's going to be a Shanghai semifinalist.
Zverev was in fine form through much of the match, but failed to serve out the encounter when serving for it in the ninth game of the second set. Instead he had to wait through a second set tiebreaker to ship Andrey Rublev of Russia to the exit 6-0, 7-6 (4).
Fourth seed Dominic Thiem of Austria will face 11th seed Matteo Berrettini of Italy in the other quarterfinal pairing.
Thiem struggled to close out the match when serving for it at 5-2 in the second set, but two games later he pulled off a 6-3, 6-4 win over 15th seed Nikoloz Basilashvili of Georgia.
Berrettini, who reached his first semifinal of a major at the U.S. Open last month, was a 7-6 (5), 6-4 winner over eighth seed Roberto Bautista Carreno of Spain.