Federer cruises past Stepanek into Paris QFs

Top seed Roger Federer matched his best performance at the BNP Paribas Masters, reaching the quarter-finals for a fourth time with a 6-4, 6-3 win over Czech Radek Stepanek on Thursday evening in Paris.

Stepanek held level with the World No. 2 through most of the first set, even earning the first two break point chances, before Federer gained control, winning a string of five straight games to establish a set and 3-0 lead. The Swiss closed out the match in one hour and 19 minutes with consecutive love service games.

"He was serving good, he was accurate, he was coming in a lot, which I kind of expected," said Federer. " I just kind of felt it was gonna be a tough match to play. Thank God I already had a couple of really good return games and a good 10, 15 minutes which I was able to make a difference on, and then I could cruise home. I survived a scare early on when I was down break point and he was playing well, so it was a good match from my side."

Federer has now won 15 of his past 16 matches, reaching the final at the Shanghai Rolex Masters (l. to Murray) and claiming back-to-back titles in Stockholm and Basel, and will look to continue his form when he takes on Austrian Jurgen Melzer in the quarter-finals.

This will be the third meeting this season between the two 29 year olds, who had not played each other in tour-level action prior to this year. Federer won their fourth-round matches at Wimbledon and the US Open in straight sets.

While Federer has reached the final at the eight other ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournaments, he has yet to advance beyond the quarter-finals at the BNP Paribas Masters, falling at this stage in 2002-03 and '08.

Date: 12.11.2010, Source: ATP


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