Federer Cruises Into QFs

Roger Federer may have been off tour for two months, but the Swiss is showing no signs of rust at the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters, where he is through to the quarter-finals after defeating Roberto Bautista Agut 6-2, 6-4 on Thursday.

The third-seeded Federer swept past Bautista Agut in 69 minutes, winning 73 per cent of his service points and breaking serve three times. He improved to a 5-0 head-to-head record over Bautista Agut, who has made a strong start in 2016, compiling a 20-7 mark and winning titles in Auckland (d. Sock) and Sofia (d. Troicki).

The 34-year-old Federer returned to action at the Monte-Carlo Country Club after being sidelined since the Australian Open, first with a torn meniscus in his left knee that required arthroscopic surgery, then illness in Miami. The Basel native beat Guillermo Garcia-Lopez in straight sets in his opening match and now goes on to face Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.

Federer is a four-time finalist in Monte-Carlo and is looking to add the elusive crown to his collection of 24 ATP World Tour Masters 1000 trophies. The right-hander reached three straight finals from 2006-08, losing to Rafael Nadal, and lost out to countryman Stan Wawrinka in the 2014 title match.

Eighth seed Tsonga won an all-French clash with Lucas Pouille in the last match of the day, beating the wild card 6-4, 6-4 in one hour and 35 minutes. In the pair’s first tour-level meeting, Tsonga won 72 per cent of his service points and converted two of his nine break points.

Tsonga trails Federer 5-11 in the head-to-head, but did beat the Swiss in their last meeting two years ago in the Toronto final. They also met in the Monte-Carlo quarter-finals in 2014, with Federer winning that contest in three sets.

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