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Federer races into round of 16
June 01, 2007 19:00 IST
Last Updated: June 01, 2007 20:58 IST
World number one Roger Federer [Images] sprinted through to the last 16 of the French Open by crushing unseeded Italian Potito Starace 6-2, 6-3, 6-0 on Friday.
Top seed Federer, chasing victory in the only Grand Slam to elude him so far, needed just over an hour and a half to brush aside his opponent, ranked 57th in the world.
Federer opened up a 4-1 lead and then broke Starace again with a forehand winner to take the first set after 29 minutes.
The elegant all-rounder stayed on top in the second set, breaking Starace with perfect timing in the eighth game to serve for the set and wrap it up.
The 25-year-old Swiss was in a class of his own in the third set, winning six games in a row and sealing victory with a superb backhand winner to set up a fourth-round clash with Russia's Mikhail Youzhny, seeded 13th.
"It's hard to judge if I'm getting better because the conditions were really difficult for me in the first two rounds," Federer said.
"I'm happy I haven't lost a set. It came naturally today, especially in the third set. I was playing well, my serve was working well."
Federer, whose best result here on eight previous visits was his final defeat by arch-rival Rafael Nadal [Images] in last year's final, is attempting to become the third man to hold all four grand slam titles at the same time after Don Budge and Rod Laver.
The Swiss, who has topped the rankings since February 2004, boosted his confidence before coming to Paris by beating Spain's Nadal for the first time on clay, in the Hamburg final late last month.
Federer is favoured to challenge world number two Nadal in the final on June 10 but could be tested in the next round by Youzhny, who advanced by overcoming former champion Juan Carlos Ferrero in four sets.
"He's an excellent player and he usually plays better against the better players," Federer said of Youzhny.
"I've never lost a match against him but I have a lot of respect for him and for his game."
The French Open 2007 coverage