Roger Federer closes in on world number one ranking

Roger Federer closes in on world number one ranking
By PA Sport

15/02/2018 at 04:54Updated 15/02/2018 at 06:00

At 36 Federer is aiming to become the oldest world number one in ATP Tour history.

Roger Federer is just two wins away from becoming the world number one again after a first-round win at Rotterdam’s ABN Amro World Tennis Tournament.

The 36-year-old Swiss was last at the top of the ATP rankings over five years ago and will return to that position by displacing Rafael Nadal if he makes it to the semi-finals.

He began his quest to become the oldest man to ever be world number one with a comfortable 6-1 6-2 victory over Ruben Bemelmans in the first round on Wednesday.

“(It was) very surprising how good things went today,” Federer admitted on atpworldtour.com.

“I think the key was to start off well and put Ruben under pressure right away and make him feel like he had to do something special.”

Federer will play Philipp Kohlschreiber in the round-of-16 on Thursday.

Second seed Grigor Dimitrov advanced courtesy of a 6-4 7-6 (7/5) triumph over Yuichi Sugita, but third seed Alexander Zverev was knocked out in straight sets by Andreas Seppi.

Tomas Berdych and David Goffin also won, as did Robin Haase, who could face Federer in the quarter-finals.

In Argentina, top seed Dominic Thiem overcame home favourite Horacio Zeballos 6-4 6-3 to take one step closer to reclaiming the title after his victory in 2016.

Zeballos’ compatriot Diego Schwartzman advanced into the tournament’s quarter-finals for the first time, beating Brazil’s Thomaz Bellucci 3-6 6-3 6-2.

Spaniards Fernando Verdasco and Albert Ramos-Vinolas, meanwhile, were both knocked out of the Buenos Aires competition.

Eighth seed Verdasco lost 6-2 6-4 to Guido Pella, who will now go on to face Theim, and Ramos-Vinolas was beaten 3-6 7-5 6-1 by Slovakia’s Aljaz Bedene, who will meet Schwartzman in the quarter-finals.

In New York, Kei Nishikori looked to have put his injury problems behind him as he overcame Russian Evgeny Donskoy 6-2 6-4 in just over an hour.

The Japanese fifth seed will now face Radu Albot, who beat number three seed John Isner 7-6 (7/5) 3-6 6-3.

Adrian Mannarino moved into the Long Island quarter-final after Germany’s Peter Gojowczyk retired at 7-6 (7/5) 5-7 1-4, while Spain’s Adrian Menendez-Maceiras beat Frenchman Jeremy Chardy 7-5 7-6 (7/5).

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