Roger Federer and Juan Martin Del Potro moved closer towards a likely final meeting with straight sets wins in Rotterdam with wins over Thiemo De Bakker and Ernests Gulbis respectively.
It wasn’t quite a vintage performance from Federer over the home favourite but he was never troubled by De Bakker. A break in the fourth game to 15 would be enough for the first set, although three opportunities in the sixth game were left unconverted by Federer but it wouldn’t matter as he would eventually serve the set out but needed three set points to take it.
He would come out quick in the second, rushing to a 0-40 lead in the opening game of the set. De Bakker would save two but the Dutchman failed to save the third and that would be all Federer needed. The Swiss faced one break point at *2-1 up but after that it would be plain sailing as he finished the match off with two love holds to move into the next round with a 6-3 6-4 victory.
Next up for the Swiss maestro will be Julien Benneteau, who defeated Victor Hanescu 6-1 6-3.
It was a bit more difficult for Del Potro who came up against an in-form Gulbis but he still managed to come through in the straight sets 7-6(5) 6-3. After a set that saw just one break point opportunity, a topsy-turvy tie break ensued with six of the first seven points being won by the receiver. From *3-4, things settled down as both players held their serve giving Del Potro a set point for the first time, and it would be taken after a disappointing error from Gulbis.
The second looked to be going the same with seven straight holds, the last of which saw Del Potro save two break points. Gulbis would pay for his failure to convert in the previous game as he was broken to 15 allowing Del Potro the opportunity to serve out the match, which he would do so comfortably with a hold to 15.
The Argentine will square off against Jarkko Nieminen of Finland next, who overcame German Matthias Bachinger 6-3 5-7 6-3.