Kei Nishikori advanced to the quarterfinals of the Shanghai Masters on the strength of a third-round, straight-sets win over American Sam Querrey on Thursday.
The eighth-seed and world No. 12 Nishikori managed the match's only service break on his second match point to take the extremely well-balanced match 7-6(7), 6-4. Nishikori's quarterfinal opponent will be top seed and world No. 2 Roger Federer of Switzerland who held off Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut 6-3, 2-6, 6-4.
With 57th-ranked Querrey serving to win the first-set tiebreak, Nishikori unleashed a wicked backhand return on the American's second serve to make it 6-6. Another backhand winner gave Nishikori a mini break and set point. The two traded points before Nishikori won a rally on Querrey's serve with a backhand slice.
"I thought that whenever possible, I wanted to wait things out until it came down to making shots," Nishikori said. "Despite my serve not being very good, I got a lot out of my second serves and was able to win despite being in so much danger."
Despite losing in straight sets, Querrey won 74 points in the match to Nishikori's 71.
Earlier in the day, Japan's Ben McLachlan's bid for three consecutive tour doubles titles evaporated in a 6-3, 6-3 round-of-16 defeat. McLachlan and Germany's Jan-Lennard Struff, who won the Rakuten Japan Open title this past Sunday, were beaten by Japan Open runners-up, Raven Klaasen of South Africa and New Zealand's Michael Venus.