World number three Federer, who faces Dutchman Robin Haase in the lsat four, was never seriously pushed by Spains Bautista Agut, who is winless in seven matches against the Swiss maestro.
"I think it pays off playing aggressive here in Montreal," Federer said in a courtside interview after his 6-4 6-4 win over the 12th seed.
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"Plus I feel comfortable at the net so why not spend some time up there instead of slugging it out from the baseline?"
Federer opened the second set with a break and cruised through the reest of the match, which lasted just over an hour.
With world number two Rafael Nadal eliminated on Thursday by 18-year-old Canadian Denis Shapovalov and world number one Andy Murray sidelined by a rib injury, Federer has an opportunity to regain his world number one ranking.
He would need to win the Rogers Cup and have an equal or better finish than Nadal at the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati next week to become the world number one on Aug. 21.

Roger Federer à Montréal

Image credit: Getty Images

"Now that Rafa is out I know I can make big strides, especially if I was to go further than the semis here. But it's all connected to great play," said the Australian Open and Wimbledon champion.
Earlier, Haase recovered to defeat Argentine Diego Schwartzman 4-6 6-3 6-3 in their quarter-final.
In the other quarter-finals, Shapovalov came from a set down to beat Adrian Mannarino of France 2-6 6-3 6-4, and Germany's Alexander Zverev dismissed South Africa's Kevin Anderson in straight sets, 7-5 6-4.

Results from the Montreal Masters Men's Singles Quarterfinal matches on Friday

  • 4-Alexander Zverev (Germany) beat Kevin Anderson (South Africa) 7-5 6-4
  • Denis Shapovalov (Canada) beat Adrian Mannarino (France) 2-6 6-3 6-4
  • 2-Roger Federer (Switzerland) beat 12-Roberto Bautista (Spain) 6-4 6-4
  • Robin Haase (Netherlands) beat Diego Schwartzman (Argentina) 4-6 6-3 6-3
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