Shanghai Masters: Rafael Nadal beats Fabio Fognini to set up Grigor Dimitrov match


French Open and US Open champion Nadal has won 10 of his 13 matches against Fognini

Top seed Rafael Nadal continued his bid for a first Shanghai Masters title by seeing off Italy’s Fabio Fognini in an impressive last-16 victory.

The world number one, 31, won 6-3 6-1 in little over an hour to set up a quarter-final against Grigor Dimitrov.

Dimitrov improved his chances of reaching the ATP World Tour Finals with a straight-set win over Sam Querrey.

Marin Cilic is also through after a win against Steve Johnson, while Juan Martin del Potro beat Alexander Zverev.

Second seed Roger Federer plays Ukraine’s Alexandr Dolgopolov later on Thursday.

Nadal remains the man to beat

Spain’s Nadal has enjoyed a remarkable year as two Grand Slam crowns, and four other Tour titles, have lifted him to the top of the rankings for the first time since 2014.

Now the 16-time Grand Slam champion is aiming to continue a stellar 2017 with a maiden victory in Shanghai.

Nadal had too much quality for 28th-ranked Fognini, breaking the Italian’s opening service game on the way to the first set, and wrapping up a comfortable win in 62 minutes.

It sets up another meeting with Dimitrov, who Nadal beat on his way to winning the Beijing Open title on Sunday.

Dimitrov continues to impress

Dimitrov has won three ATP tour titles this year and reached the Australian Open semi-finals in January

Bulgaria’s Dimitrov, ranked ninth in the world, won 6-3 7-6 (7-3) against American Querrey to earn his 40th match win of a career-best year.

The 26-year-old broke Querrey in the fourth game of the opening set, going on to take his fourth set point for the lead.

Querrey, who beat Andy Murray to reach the Wimbledon semi-finals earlier this year, took a 2-0 lead in the second set but Dimitrov immediately broke back and went on to clinch the tie-break.

Victory moved Dimitrov to fifth in the ATP Race To London, with the top eight sealing a place at the O2 next month.

Argentina’s Del Potro, 29, moved a step closer to his first final since the Rio 2016 Olympics by beating third seed Zverev.

The 20-year-old German comfortably took the first set before losing his temper and smashing his racquet in the third set as Del Potro, who reached the US Open semi-finals last month, fought back to win 3-6 7-6 (7-5) 6-4.

Fourth seed Cilic, 29, won 7-6 (7-1) 6-4 against American Johnson, setting up a last-eight match against Spain’s Albert Ramos-Vinolas.

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