Federer punishes wasteful Fognini to remain on course
Roger Federer took another step towards his 100th ATP World Tour title as he defeated Fabio Fognini 6-4 6-3 to book his place in the Paris Masters quarter-finals.
The 20-time grand slam champion moved to 99 victories at last week's Swiss Indoors Basel and enjoyed a gentle start to the action in Paris after Milos Raonic's withdrawal in the last 32.
A fresh Federer made the most of his rest to storm into the lead against the wasteful Fognini, who could not subsequently capitalise when his opponent's performance levels dipped at the end of either set.
Federer applied pressure from the off and, with Fognini evidently vulnerable on his second serve, a swift break was secured as the Italian found the net.
The Swiss looked to be out of sight when he moved 4-1 up in the opener - Fognini again hitting the net under pressure - but there was instant response and Federer's advantage soon threatened to be wiped out completely.
Fognini had broken back, halving the deficit with a fine backhand down the line, before squandering two break points as Federer was allowed to serve out the set.
Perhaps fortunate to have come through unscathed, Federer soon found his feet again.
A couple of effortless holds set up an opportunity to break and the veteran star duly delivered, Fognini once again looking to force the issue and falling short of the net.
An opportunity to redress the balance went begging when Fognini let another two break point opportunities go to waste, with Federer let off the hook and then able to make another gain in devastating fashion to secure the win.