Roger Federer engineered a 6-1, 6-1 rout in less than an hour, outclassing the big-serving Kevin Anderson to join Novak Djokovic in the quarter-finals of the ATP and WTA Western & Southern Open on Thursday.
Switzerland’s Federer swept the first set in 21 minutes and began the second set with a break of South Africa’s Anderson.
“I’m pleased with a rock-solid performance,” the six-time champion said. “I know it’s only the quarters, but I’m playing great tennis. I hope I can keep it up tomorrow.”
While the second seed was able to make it all look easy, it was a slog for an exhausted Andy Murray as the third-seeded Montreal title-winner needed a shade under three hours to put down Grigor Dimitrov 4-6, 7-6 (7/4), 7-5.
Dimitrov led a set and two breaks before Murray hauled the second set back. The Bulgarian then owned the third 5-2, but could not close it out despite getting to match point.
Murray gathered the last of his reserves to take the win, his 26th at the tournament that he won in 2008 and 2011.
Djokovic also survived a scare in the pursuit of a first career Cincinnati title, with the top seed holding off David Goffin 6-4, 2-6, 6-3.
Djokovic, aiming to become the first man to win all eight Masters 1000 events, nearly found himself on the sidelines as his 13th-seeded Belgian opponent won the second set and went two breaks up in the decider.
However, the experienced Serb pulled back from the brink, leveling at 3-3 and ran out the winner after a tense hour and 45 minutes.
Djokovic stayed alive despite seven double-faults and five breaks of his serve.
“It was a solid first set, but whatever happened in the next 45 minutes I don’t want to remember it,” Djokovic said.
“Luckily for me, I managed to bounce back, dig myself out of this hole I was in,” added Djokovic, who admitted he had struggled to adjust to the conditions.
Djokovic is to face Stan Wawrinka in the next round after the Swiss fifth seed prevailed over Ivo Karlovic to win 6-7 (2/7), 7-6 (7/5), 7-6 (7/5).
“I’m really happy to get the win, you know what to expect from him,” said Wawrinka, who saw 35 aces from Karlovic fly past him. “You need to stay calm and aggressive.”
“I’m happy with the way I stayed positive with body language, and always made him play one more ball. You must accept that he will have a lot of aces. I’m happy to get through,” Wawrinka said.
Sixth-seeded Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic crushed Spain’s Tommy Robredo 6-0, 6-1.
Frenchman Richard Gasquet knocked out US Open winner Marin Cilic, the seventh seed, on the cusp of a Grand Slam title defense, leaving the Croatian hurting after a 7-5, 6-3 loss.
Former champion Rafael Nadal, seeded eighth, lost to Spanish compatriot Feliciano Lopez 5-7, 6-4, 7-6 (7/3) in another nighttime marathon.
Women’s holder Serena Williams dispatched Karin Knapp 6-0, 6-2, while sixth seed Ana Ivanovic overhauled Sloane Stephens 2-6, 6-4, 6-1.
“Everyone enjoys easier matches. I think testing is also really important, but at the end of the day, if you could have only easy matches for the whole tournament, I don’t think anyone would object to that,” Williams said after her 54-minute stroll.
Williams will not get her wish in the next round, as she plays former world No. 1 Ivanovic, who is having a strong season. It is to be a rerun of their final last year.
French Open finalist Lucie Safarova advanced to the quarter-finals when injured opponent Belinda Bencic quit trailing 6-2. Jelena Jankovic punished eighth seed Karolina Pliskova 6-2, 3-6, 7-5.
Two-time Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka had to stop with leg pain after being taped at the end of the first set, handing a 1-6, 3-0 win to Russia’s Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.
In women’s doubles, Taiwanese sisters Chan Hao-ching and Chan Yung-jan rallied to defeat France’s Caroline Garcia and Slovenia’s Katarina Srebotnik 3-6, 6-2, 12-10 in their second-round match.
Meanwhile in the quarter-finals, Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei and Chuang Chia-jung also had to rally to beat Hungary’s Timea Babos and France’s Kristina Mladenovic 4-6, 6-4, 13-11.
Additional reporting by staff writer
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