PARIS: World No. 1 Rafael Nadal and Swiss star Roger Federer led a host of leading fancies into the third round of the Paris Masters on Wednesday (Thursday in Manila).
Federer’s 6-4, 6-4 victory over South African Kevin Anderson was enough to secure his spot at the World Tour Finals in London, his 12th straight appearance at the season’s glamour finale.
“It’s magnificent to come back to Paris which is close to my heart especially after 2009 (his only French Open triumph) and 2011,” when he won the Paris Masters,” said Federer
At a packed Bercy arena, Nadal turned in a trademark swashbuckling display to defeat Spanish compatriot Marcel Granollers 7-5, 7-5.
Nadal, 27, hasn’t played at the Paris tournament since 2009 and is attempting to become the first player since Andre Agassi in 1999 to win both the French Open and Paris Masters in the same year.
Nadal advances to a last-16 meeting against last year’s surprise finalist Jerzy Janowicz.
The eight-time French Open winner, who is chasing a record sixth Masters title in the same season, said after the match he was happy to win but needs to improve.
“It can be difficult when your opponent serves well and you didn’t play your best, so matches are very close, especially on a surface like this one.
Philipp Kohlschreiber will be Federer’s next opponent after the experienced German blew away two-time Paris semi-finalist and compatriot Tommy Haas 6-2, 6-2.
Defending champion David Ferrer of Spain was pushed to three sets by Czech Lukas Rosol in his opening match before easing into the last-16, 6-0, 2-6, 6-3.
Argentine fourth seed Juan Martin Del Potro made it 14 wins from 15 matches since the US Open as he defeated Marin Cilic.
The 25-year-old, who won his fourth ATP title of the year last weekend at Basel, withstood 19 aces from his opponent before closing out a tense encounter 6-4, 7-6 (7/3) against the Croatian.