Fed Fantastique In Paris Opener

Swiss sets Round of 16 clash with Isner at BNP Paribas Masters

Roger Federer scored his best-in-the-business 327th ATP World Tour Masters 1000 victory on Friday at the BNP Paribas Masters, easily downing Andreas Seppi 6-1, 6-1.

In 13 previous FedEx ATP Head2Head meetings, Seppi had defeated Federer on just one occasion: a 6-4, 7-6(5), 4-6, 7-6(5) third-round upset earlier this year at the Australian Open. But that seemed but ancient history at the AccorHotels Arena, where Federer overwhelmed the Italian in 47 minutes.

So speedy was the match that one reporter asked the World No. 2 if he had promised his children he would be home in time for dinner.

Federer quipped, “No, I'm too late now.”

“But it's very pleasant to play matches like this one,” he continued. “Of course, I like great battles, playing two, three, four, five hours. But 47 minutes is always very pleasant. You need to focus a lot for the very short time you are on the court, not to make any mistakes. I'm very happy with this mental performance.”

Federer, 34, playing his first match since claiming his seventh Basel title on Sunday, played near-flawless tennis in taking the opening set in an efficient 19 minutes, winning 92 per cent of his service points.

The 28th-ranked Seppi never seemed to recover in the second set. It wasn’t until, serving for survival at 0-5, that he got on the scoreboard. But it was too little too late. He finished with 18 unforced errors to just five winners.

Seppi fell to 2-8 against Top-10 competition in 2015. Federer, meanwhile, improved to 59-9 overall on the year. He will now meet John Isner in the Round of 16. The Swiss is 5-1 against the power-serving American in FedEx ATP Head2Head encounters.

"Indoors here in Paris, he's played well historically," Federer observed. "I'm aware of that, and I know it's not going to be easy. I need to make sure I focus on my own game and see what I can do on his serve. There is only so many opportunities."

Trailing 1-4 in the opening set against Viktor Troicki, 15th seed Feliciano Lopez of Spain battled back before falling 6-7(7), 7-5, 6-4. The Serb will next face Stan Wawrinka. Elsewhere, No. 9 seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga made quick work of Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut, winning 6-2, 6-2 in one hour and two minutes.

"I wanted to keep focused and not give away anything along the way,” said Tsonga. “And this I did well. I didn't want to get caught in a very long match. It was too dangerous."

The Frenchman smacked eight aces and converted four of eight break points in earning a Round of 16 match-up with Tomas Berdych.

In a marathon match that lingered until 12:24 a.m. local time, Kevin Anderson outlasted Dominic Thiem 6-7(3), 7-6(4), 7-6(5) for the right to meet Rafael Nadal in the Round of 16. The two-hour and 44-minute affair saw Anderson register 30 aces, totaling 55 winners and 39 unforced errors. Both players saved match points before the decisive third-set tie-break, but it was the South African who would come through in the end.

For the first time since 2009, 14 of 16 seeds are through to the Round of 16 at the BNP Paribas Masters.

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