MONTREAL: Swiss star Roger Federer outclassed Roberto Bautista Agut as he inched closer to his sixth title of the season in a 6-4, 6-4 win in the quarter-finals of the Montreal Masters on Friday (Saturday in Manila).
Federer hammered five aces, made just two double faults and won 81 percent of his first serve points in the 68-minute centre court match. He dominated at the net, winning 21 or 25 points.
“It pays off playing aggressively here in Montreal, plus I feel comfortable at net, so why not spend some time there instead of slugging it out from the baseline,” Federer said. “I think I did a good job again, even though it was tough to control the ball. I got some decent rhythm going.”
Federer advances to the semi-finals where he will face Robin Haase of the Netherlands, who defeated Diego Schwartzman 4-6, 6-3, 6-3 earlier in the day.
Bautista Agut struggled mightily on his serve as he was broken three times and won just 65 percent of his first serve points.
“Today, I felt that I didn’t get into the rhythm of the match and I didn’t feel the ball well,” he said. “Roger plays very fast and he didn’t want to rally with me, so he went for his shots.”
Federer posted his seventh consecutive win over the Spaniard and boosted his season record to 34-2. He has a Tour high five titles in 2017.
He will face Dutchman Haas in just the second career meeting between the two.
The pair met in a Davis Cup World Group play-off in 2012 with Federer winning 6-1, 6-4, 6-4.
Federer’s chances of winning another title of the season were given a boost when top seed Rafael Nadal was upset by world No. 143 Denis Shapovalov of Canada on Thursday night.
Shapovalov, who needed a wild card to gain entry into the tournament, takes on Frenchman Adrian Mannarino later in the day.
The other quarter-final features Germany’s Alexander Zverev against Kevin Anderson of South Africa.
Haase rallied after losing the opening set to improve to 5-0 all-time against Schwartzman.
Haase has had to overcome several injuries in his career but says he is finally in a good place.
“I wasn’t the player I was before my injury,” Haase said. “I was not as fast. I was insecure. I had a lot of problems with other injuries after. Then this kind of eats you up inside mentally. It drains you because you know you can do better.
“I’ve been working on it a lot in the past few years. I started to believe more and more again. My game is better.”