Paris:Roger Federer complained on Wednesday about being made to play in near darkness and that is probably why the organisers had him up in an early match on Friday.
Late or early, the result seems to be the same where the fedex is concerned. The top seed made a smooth entry into the fourth round of the French Open beating Italy's Potito Starace 6-2, 6-3, 6-0. Federer sounded pretty satisfied with his performance on Friday.
"I was moving well for early on in a Grand Slam. I think I am playing really well," he said. "Also, my serve is really working well, I feel, when it has to," he added.
Federer has won 10 of the past 15 major tournaments, but he has never been the champion at Roland Garros, and his pursuit of a career Grand Slam moved forward with the victory over Potito.
The top-seeded Federer also is trying to become the first man since Rod Laver in 1969 to win four consecutive Grand Slam titles, a feat he acknowledged "would boost my career in an incredible way."
He and Starace were tied 3-3 in the second set when Federer reeled off nine games in a row.
"It had been a long time since I lost that badly to anyone on clay," Starace said. "He never let me take the initiative," he added.
After sharing a court with Federer for 1 1/2 hours, Starace offered his assessment of the Swiss star's chances of hoisting the trophy at tournament's end.
"This year, I think he can win," Starace commented.
There's work to be done, though. In the fourth round, Federer will face No 13 Mikhail Youzhny of Russia, a semifinalist at last year's US Open who beat 2003 French Open champion Juan Carlos Ferrero 6-7 (3), 7-6 (3), 6-2, 6-2.
And if Federer gets past Youzhny, he might have to face a lineup he knows all too well.