Roger Federer has reached the Rogers Cup semi-finals after coming to the net early and often in a straight-sets victory over Roberto Bautista Agut on a windy day in Montreal.
World No.3 Federer, who faces Dutchman Robin Haase in the last four, was never seriously pushed in the 6-4 6-4 win against his Spanish opponent.
In the other half of the draw, 18-year-old Canadian Denis Shapovalov has fought back from a set down to overcome Frenchman Adrian Mannarino 2-6 6-3 6-4 and become the youngest ever player to reach a Masters 1000 semi-final.
The local favourite will play fourth-seeded German Alexander Zverev after the 20-year-old accounted for South African veteran Kevin Anderson 7-5 6-4.
For Federer, it was plain sailing against Bautista Agut, who is winless in seven matches against the Swiss maestro.
“I think it pays off playing aggressive here in Montreal,” Federer said.
“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 rest of the match, which lasted just over an hour.
With world No.2 Rafael Nadal eliminated on Thursday by Shapovalov and world No.1 Andy Murray sidelined by a rib injury, Federer has an opportunity to regain the top spot.
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 No.1 on August 21.
“Now that Rafa is out I know I can make big strides, especially if I was to go further than the semis here,” Federer said.
“But it’s all connected to great play.”
Federer, who leads the ATP this season with five titles – including two grand slams – improved his 2017 record to 34-2 as he bids for a 94th career trophy.
Earlier on Friday, unseeded Haase recovered from going a set down to beat Argentine Diego Schwartzman 4-6 6-3 6-3.
Saturday’s meeting with Federer will be the Dutchman’s first Masters 1000 semi-final of his career.
“I’m looking forward to a tough match because he can serve very well, and he mixes up his tactics a lot,” Federer said.