MONACO, April 13 (AP): Roger Federer started his clay-court season by dispatching Philipp Kohlschreiber of Germany 6-2 6-1 with precise shot-making in the second round of the Monte Carlo Masters.
The Swiss star, seeded second after Novak Djokovic�s withdrawal, slammed forehand winners and performed exquisite drop shots and lobs on the run that few other players can make look so easy.
�Clearly a good start for me into the clay-court season,� Federer said. �I was able to do all the things I was hoping to. I was consistent; consistently dangerous, too. I felt well in the offense, and in the defense I was fine.�
He outplayed Kohlschreiber from the start, breaking his serve to begin both sets and wrapping up the win in only 50 minutes. Kohlschreiber�s dejected body language showed he knew it was all over after only a handful of games yesterday.
Federer, who has lost to top-ranked Rafael Nadal in the Monte Carlo final from 2006 to 2008, had Kohlschreiber scampering helplessly around center court with a mixture of shots that were beyond the German�s reach.
�I managed to vary the game well and not make too many mistakes,� said Federer, whose only title win this year was at the Qatar Open in January. The 16-time Grand Slam champion broke Kohlschreiber twice in each set, saved the only break point he faced with an ace, and sealed victory with his fifth ace of the match to improve to 6-0 against the German.
Federer, who trained with Kohlschreiber last summer, has only ever lost one set to him in a tiebreaker at Wimbledon two years ago.
�I think he can play a lot better than he did today,� Federer said. �Sometimes there are opponents it works really well against. Others, you realize you have to work the point differently. I know how good Philipp is and how heavy his ball actually is. I was actually quite surprised I was having no problems with his serve.�
Federer clinched the opening set when Kohlschreiber sent a forehand long. Against the backdrop of the glittering Mediterranean sea, his play continued to sparkle in the second set.
He hit a lob on the run from the back of the court, then sprinted to the net to retrieve the return and flick a winner that wrong-footed Kohlschreiber in the sixth game.
Fifth-seeded Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic was also in good form, beating Olivier Rochus of Belgium 6-2 6-3 to set up a third-round match against Ivan Ljubicic of Croatia.
The former third-ranked Ljubicic advanced after beating 12th-seeded Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France 7-6 (2) 6-4 while big-serving Canadian Milos Raonic downed Latvia�s Ernests Gulbis 6-4 7-5. (AP)