Federer keeps pace with title rival Nadal

Roger Federer kept pace with his Spanish title rival as he cruised past Croatian Marin Cilic 6-4, 6-3 on Thursday in the third round of the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters.

The Swiss broke serve once in each set, and saved the only break point he faced, as he surged to victory over the No. 15-seeded Cilic in just 71 minutes. The 22-year-old Cilic, a finalist in Marseille (l. to Soderling) in February, dropped to a 15-8 match record on the season.

"Today was another solid performance, which I'm very happy about," said Federer. "He actually played a solid match except one game in the end of the first set where he made some mistakes unfortunately. Fortunate for me. But I think we were both really solid until that point on the serve. And in the second set, I was able to have one good return game, which was able to surprise him with a few quick returns. I took advantage of that there."

World No. 3 Federer is closing on a fourth final appearance at the Monte-Carlo Country Club, which stages the first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 clay-court tennis tournament of the season. He finished runner-up three times to Nadal from 2006-2008.

The 29-year-old Federer will also look to win a record-equalling 18th ATP World Tour Masters 1000 title this week by triumphing at one of just three such tournaments where he is yet to claim the title; the others being Shanghai, Rome and Paris-Bercy.

Federer next will face either Jurgen Melzer of Austria or Spain’s Nicolas Almagro for a place in the semi-finals.

Date: 14.04.2011, Source: Monte Carlo Rolex Masters


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