Monaco - Roger Federer was dominant in his first match on clay this year, routing Philipp Kohlschreiber of Germany 6-2, 6-1 in the second round of the Monte Carlo Masters on Tuesday.
The Swiss star, seeded second after Novak Djokovic's withdrawal from the tournament, outplayed Kohlschreiber from the start, breaking his serve to begin both sets and wrapping up the win in only 50 minutes.
Federer, who has lost three times to top-ranked Rafael Nadal in the Monte Carlo final, had Kohlschreiber scampering helplessly around center court with a mixture of sublime lobs and drop shots.
"I managed to vary the game well and not make too many mistakes," Federer said. "It was a good way to start my clay season here.
"I think he can play a lot better than he did today. I think he will be disappointed."
The 16-time Grand Slam champion broke Kohlschreiber twice in each set, saved the only break point he faced, and sealed victory with his fifth ace of the match.
Federer, who missed the tournament last year, clinched the opening set when Kohlschreiber sent a forehand long.
Against the backdrop of the glittering Mediterranean sea, Federer's play continued to sparkle in the second set. He hit a lob on the run from the back of the court, then sprinted to the net to retrieve the return and flick a winner that wrong-footed the German in the sixth game.
Nadal starts his clay-court season on Wednesday with a second-round match against Jarkko Nieminen of Finland.
In first-round action, 16th-seeded Gilles Simon of France beat Thomaz Bellucci of Brazil 6-3, 6-2, Feliciano Lopez of Spain rallied to beat Serbia's Janko Tipsarevic 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (4), and Maximo Gonzalez of Argentina downed Victor Hanescu of Romania 3-6, 7-5, 6-1.
Results on the third day of the Monte Carlo Masters (x denotes seeding):
Per Riba (ESP) bt Potito Starace (ITA) 4-6, 6-3, 6-3
Albert Montanes (ESP) bt Xavier Malisse (BEL) 6-4, 6-2
Gilles Simon (FRA x16) bt Thomaz Belluci (BRA) 6-3, 6-2
Feliciano Lopez (ESP) bt Janko Tipsarevic (SRB) 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (7/4)
Maximo Gonzalez (ARG) bt Victor Hanescu (ROM) 3-6, 7-5, 6-1
Guillermo Garcia-Lopez (ESP) bt Vincent Millot (FRA) 6-2, 6-4
Fabio Fognini (ITA) bt Kevin Anderson (RSA) 3-6, 6-2, 6-2
Milos Raonic (CAN) bt Ernests Gulbis (LAT) 6-4, 7-5
Roger Federer (SUI x2) bt Philipp Kohlschreiber (GER) 6-2, 6-1
Ivan Ljubicic (CRO) bt Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA x12) 7-6 (7/2), 6-4