Federer crushes qualfier to lead seed stampede
Federer has a date with one-time doubles partner and long-time rival Lleyton Hewitt in the quarterfinals of the Montreal Masters.Updated: Aug 10, 2007 12:58 IST
The top five seeds swept into the quarterfinals of the Montreal Masters on Thursday with Roger Federer setting the blistering pace.
The Swiss number one played to perfection a day after celebrating a birthday on court, blowing out the candles on Italian qualifier Fabio Fognini 6-1, 6-1 in just 44 minutes.
"People like to say, 'I couldn't get into the rhythm and stuff.' It's not true," he said. "I had a perfect rhythm out there today."
Hot rival Rafael Nadal had to work harder, spending 2hrs 42min in overcoming Frenchman Paul-Henri Mathieu 3-6, 6-3, 6-2.
His first set went longer than Federer's entire match.
Nadal had to save nine break points as he aims to add a second Montreal title to his collection after winning here in 2005. He has not lost to Mathieu in six career meetings.
"I didn't play very well today, especially in the last games of the first set and the beginning of the second," said the Spaniard. "I played terrible with my forehand."
"I have to improve for tomorrow, but I finished the match with better feelings than when I start, so that's always important."
Serb Novak Djokovic, the number three, was impressive in his third-round encounter, rolling over Argentina's David Nalbandian 6-2, 6-3.
The Wimbledon semifinalist, who has made a breakthrough this season into the top five, stands one win away from 50 wins this season after lifting three titles.
Embattled Russian Nikolay Davydenko, the fourth seed, won a battle with compatriot Mikhail Youzhny 7-6 (10/8), 6-3, while US fifth seed Andy Roddick downed Cypriot Marcos Baghdatis 6-2, 6-3.
Davydenko's retirement from a match in Poland last week has been the focus of an ATP probe into possible match-fixing because of irregular betting patterns on the contest.
Davydenko will next face Czech Radek Stepanek, who ousted German 12th seed Tommy Haas 6-3, 2-6, 6-2.
Federer, chasing his 50th career title just a month after lifting a record-equalling fifth straight trophy at Wimbledon, was utterly dominant against number 139 Fognini, who had dispatched Andy Murray the day before.
With a first set which was over in 18 minutes, the challenger had little hope as Federer won a 14th match on the trot in Canada.
"That 18 minutes is really fast, and the games were going quick, my service games, especially," said Federer. "I used my chances I had right away. That definitely put a lot of pressure on him."
The Swiss won nearly three-quarters of the 37 first-set points, and 13 of 14 on first serves during the run-away.
"I knew that if I could just press a little bit more in the beginning of the second set, that would be it. I was happy it all went my way and I didn't have to struggle too much out there today."
Federer will have a Friday date with one-time doubles partner and long-time rival Lleyton Hewitt after the Australian battled past Dominik Hrbaty 6-7 (10/12), 7-6 (8/6), 7-5, in a match that took more than three hours.
The Swiss has won the pair's last nine matches, with five of those at grand slams.
"It's going to be different the next match, I'll have to adapt," said Federer. "I hope I can keep this level of play. If I play like this, I think I'm in good shape."
First Published: Aug 10, 2007 12:21 IST