Roger Federer breezed past Benoit Paire in Basel to reach the quarter-finals of the Swiss Indoors.
Having swatted aside American teenager Frances Tiafoe in the previous round, the world No 2 won 6-1 6-3 in 57 minutes. The victory means Federer’s hopes of usurping Rafael Nadal as world No 1 before the end of the year continue. He needs to lift the title in his homeland if he is to have a chance of doing so.
The Swiss world No 2 swept through the opening set in just 23 minutes at the St Jakobshalle, winning 70 percent of points on his first serve, and he then broke Paire’s resistance in the seventh game of the next set before closing the match out in under an hour without facing a breakpoint.
“I’m happy with how it went, I’m always ready for a tougher one,” Federer said. “I got a good start, got rolling. I was able to put more pressure on him than him on me. I’ve had good two first rounds. I thought the draw looked tough with [Francis] Tiafoe and Paire in my section. I’m a little surprised, to be honest.
He won the first set against Paire 6-1 in just 23 minutes The 36-year-old had an excellent chance to break early in the second set when he forced three break points in the third game.
But he failed to take the openings against his French opponent. However, he only needed to wait for two more Paire service games for his opening. The world No 40 gave away three break points and then double-faulted as Federer took the advantage. Federer then broke again in an epic final game to win the match.
Marin Cilic, who will join Federer in London having confirmed his spot at the season-ending ATP Finals earlier this week, needed three sets to defeat fellow Croatian Borna Coric 6-3 3-6 6-3.
The Wimbledon finalist will now meet Hungarian qualifier Marton Fucsovics who advanced to the last eight as Argentine Leonardo Mayer quit when trailing 3-0 in the first set.
Federer will play Denis Shapovalov or seventh seed Adrian Mannarino in the next round on Friday. If he manages to win the tournament again it would be his eighth title in Basel, with his last victory coming in 2015.