ROTTERDAM, Netherlands (AP) At the age of 36, Roger Federer is now two wins away from reclaiming the top ranking for the first time in six years.
Federer began his campaign at the ABN AMRO tournament on Wednesday with a flawless performance, defeating Ruben Bemelmans 6-1, 6-2 in just 46 minutes.
The 20-time Grand Slam champion was in complete control against the Belgian qualifier. The Swiss hit six aces, dropped only four points on his serve, and broke Bemelmans four times in the first round.
Federer will replace his old rival Rafael Nadal at No. 1 if he reaches the semifinals at the indoor tournament. By achieving the feat, he would also become the oldest top-ranked male player. Andre Agassi holds the record, at 33 years, 133 days old.
Federer next plays Philipp Kohlschreiber, a player he has never lost to in 12 previous matches.
Earlier, David Goffin eased into the quarterfinals by defeating Feliciano Lopez 6-1, 6-3. Goffin had nine aces and dropped just two points behind his first serve to extend his unbeaten record against Lopez to 3-0.
The seventh-ranked Goffin, who beat Nicolas Mahut in straight sets in his previous match, will next face sixth-seeded Tomas Berdych.
Second-seeded Grigor Dimitrov beat Yuichi Sugita 6-4, 7-6 (5) in the first round and Robin Haase won an all-Dutch contest against Thiemo de Bakker 6-2, 6-2. Dimitrov and Haase were joined in the second round by qualifier Pierre-Hugues Herbert, who advanced after Richard Gasquet retired while trailing 3-1.
DALLAS – Marcos Giron advanced to the second round of the Dallas Open with a 6-4, 6-7 (1), 6-1 victory over Alex Rybakov on Tuesday.
The seventh-seeded Giron, who reached the semifinals of the inaugural event a year ago, responded quickly after failing to close out the second set, winning the first five games of the deciding set.
Rybakov broke his fellow American when Giron was serving for the match in the second set. Then Rybakov won the first six points of the second-set tiebreaker.
“I’m really happy with how I was able to reset in the third and just get back to the game plan from the beginning and elevate,” Giron said. “He played well and served well and kind of hung in there.”
Eighth-seeded Adrian Mannarino of France won the final five points of a first-set tiebreaker and the last four games of the second to beat American Steve Johnson 7-6 (6), 6-2.
J.J. Wolf, the No. 6 seed, had little trouble in a 6-3, 6-3 victory over fellow American Brandon Holt.
John Isner, the fifth seed and unofficial tournament host in his hometown event, played later Tuesday. Like Giron, Isner lost in the semifinals last year.
DALLAS – Wild-card entry Jack Sock opened with a 7-6 (2), 4-6, 6-4 victory over Ilya Ivashka at the Dallas Open, setting up a second-round meeting with top-seeded fellow American Taylor Fritz.
Sock broke Ivashka’s serve in the final game to win the match. Ivashka fell behind 2-0 to start the final set but broke Sock to get back on serve.
Down a break early in the second set, Ivashka rallied to force the deciding set after Sock cruised in the first-set tiebreaker.
The eighth-ranked Fritz is back for the second Dallas Open after losing in the semifinals as the top seed in the inaugural edition of the indoor hard-court event last year. Defending champion Reilly Opelka isn’t in the field.