Doha: Roger Federer extended his winning run to 19 matches with an easy victory at the Qatar Open while longtime rival Rafael Nadal was equally impressive in reaching the quarter-finals.
Federer, seeded second, routed Slovenia`s Grega Zemlja 6-2, 6-3 in an hour, dropping just 11 points in nine service games.
"I`m happy to come through matches easily at the beginning of the season, because it can be tricky when you enter the first tournament and right away you play an incredibly tough three setter," Federer said in a post-match news conference.
Like Federer, Nadal is looking to reclaim the world number one spot from Novak Djokovic.
The Qatar tournament is seen by both players as important preparation for this month`s Australian Open, the first grand slam of the season, and the Spaniard has changed his approach to try to recapture top form.
"I went to the net a lot of times, that`s important. It`s something we are trying to do more often," said Nadal.
"I`m trying to return a little bit better, because for me the worst thing that I did last year was the return, especially the second half of the year. My return was worse than usual."