Paris: Former world number one Roger Federer booked his place for the ATP World Tour finals when he dismissed South African Kevin Anderson 6-4, 6-4 to reach the third round of the Paris Masters on Wednesday.
The Swiss, who started the week in seventh place in the ATP Race to London, made sure of finishing in the top nine - the cut required after British world number four Andy Murray pulled out because of back surgery.
It is the 12th consecutive time Federer has qualified for the event and equals Ivan Lendl`s record for the most successive appearances at the season-ending event.
Two places are still available for next week`s showdown in London and Federer`s compatriot Stanislas Wawrinka stayed on course to snatch one of them by advancing in Paris at the expense of Spaniard Feliciano Lopez, whom he beat 6-3, 3-6, 6-3.
Wawrinka and France`s Richard Gasquet will claim the two spots if Canadian Milos Raonic, the third and last candidate, loses to Dutchman Robin Haase later on Wednesday.
Seventh seed Wawrinka hoping to qualify for the finals for the first time, started the week in eighth place.
Rafa Nadal, Novak Djokovic, David Ferrer, Juan Martin del Potro and Tomas Berdych have already qualified.
Wawrinka`s victory means Spaniard Nicolas Almagro is ruled out of the race. German Tommy Haas, who was beaten 6-2, 6-2 by fellow German Philipp Kohlschreiber, also dropped out.
Federer barely broke sweat to knock out Anderson.
He broke his opponent`s serve in the first game and never looked back. Anderson`s series of unforced errors made sure there would be no contest at Bercy, even though the world number 21 rallied from 4-1 down in the second set.
World number one Nadal saw off fellow Spaniard Marcel Granollers 7-5, 7-5 to advance into the third round as he aims to bag one of the three Masters titles he has never won.
Nadal was never really troubled by Granollers and broke decisively in the 11th game of each set to tee up a meeting with last year`s runner-up Jerzy Janowicz of Poland, the 14th seed.
"All opponents are good here. There is no easy opponent on a surface like this one, in a tough tournament like this one," the eight-time French Open champion told a news conference.
"But hopefully for my opponents I`m not going to be good news, either."
Wawrinka was pushed harder but the Swiss served 19 aces against Lopez and prevailed in under two hours, recovering quickly after a dip in concentration cost the 28-year-old the second set.