Federer In A Hurry

Second seed Roger Federer required just 55 minutes to cruise past Jeremy Chardy 6-2, 6-1 on Wednesday for a place in the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters third round.

Federer hit 19 winners to five for Chardy, and made 12 unforced errors to record his 17th victory in 19 matches this year, which includes two ATP World Tour titles in Brisbane and Dubai.

“I thought Jeremy didn’t serve very well, and I felt good on the return,” said Federer. “So I was in a lot of the service games when he was serving. Then I thought I served well, had a high first serve percentage and was able to control the baseline. On clay, things move ahead very quickly, I must say.”

The 33-year-old Federer, who lost to Chardy at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome last year, was competing for the first time since 22 March, when he finished runner-up to Novak Djokovic in Indian Wells.

Federer is competing at the Monte-Carlo Country Club for the 12th time and is looking to finally lay his hands on the winner’s trophy that has so far eluded him. The Basel native was runner-up in 2006-08, losing out to Rafael Nadal each time, and last year was thwarted in the title match by countryman Stan Wawrinka.

Next up for Federer will be 14th seed Gael Monfils after the Frenchman edged Alexandr Dolgopolov 7-6(5), 7-6(6) in one hour and 52 minutes. The 28-year-old Monfils will face Federer for the 12th time (3-8 record). He won the pair’s last match, in straight sets on clay in the Davis Cup final in December 2014.

“The preparation is different,” said Federer, reflecting on their Davis Cup clash. “Instead of playing just one hour before a match on clay, this time I had 10 days and I’m better prepared. I feel more confident than I was in Lille.

“Gaël is such a player. He has capacities that other players don’t have, physically, also because of his power on the forehand and the backhand. It is a real challenge to play him. Often the problem is not on your own racquet against him.”

Tenth seed Gilles Simon set a third-round clash with David Ferrer after beating Benoit Paire 6-4, 7-5 in an all-French match-up. It will be their 10th meeting and third this year, after Ferrer got the better of Simon at the Australian Open and in Miami last month.

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga brought more French cheer as he dismissed David Goffin of Belgium, 6-3, 6-4 in 85 minutes. The 11th seed saved all four break points he faced and broke Goffin twice to notch just his third win of the season. The 29 year old returned from injury to play his first tournament of the year in Miami last month.

A semi-finalist in Monte-Carlo two years ago, Tsonga goes on to face Marin Cilic on Thursday.

A tournament record 15 seeds are in the Round of 16 at the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters. The previous most seeds in the Round of 16 in Monte-Carlo was 12 in 2011 and ’14. It’s also the most Top 16 seeds in the history of ATP Masters 1000 tournaments (since 1990).

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