Roger Federer maintained his perfect record against Fernando Verdasco to reach the Dubai Championships quarter-finals, while top-seeded Kei Nishikori was eliminated.
Federer converted his first match point when Verdasco sent a forehand wide, finishing off a 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 win that improved his record against the Spaniard to 7-0. Nishikori, though, lost 7-5, 5-7, 6-2 against Hubert Hurkacz of Poland.
This was win No 50 for Federer in Dubai, having won the tournament seven times.
“It’s a big number,” the 37-year-old Federer said. “I’m not sure if I’m going to get to 100. Let’s put it that way.”
He’s only three matches away from a 100th tournament title, though, and will next face Marton Fucsovics of Hungary, who beat Jan-Lennard Struff of Germany 6-4, 6-2. Federer has only played Fucsovics once, at last year’s Australian Open, but has trained with him and has been impressed with the Hungarian. “I know Marton quite well,” Federer said. “He’s improved. He likes the fast surfaces. He likes to play up in the court. He has the power when required. I think it’s going to be definitely a match that’s going to test me.”
The second-seeded Federer is now an even bigger favourite for the title with Nishikori out. It was Hurkacz’s first win against a top-10 ranked player and earned him a place in his first ATP tour quarter-final.
Hurkacz will next play fifth-seeded Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece, who eased past Belarusian qualifier Egor Gerasimov 6-3, 6-1. Gael Monfils also advanced by knocking out Cypriot wild-card Marcos Baghdatis 6-3, 6-2 and will face Lithuanian qualifier Ricardas Berankis, who ousted Denis Kudla of the US 6-4, 6-1.