Federer starts double-header by seeing off resilient Mayer
Roger Federer completed part one of a potential double-header with a 6-1 7-6 (8-6) victory over Leonardo Mayer in round three of the Cincinnati Masters on Friday.
The 37-year-old superstar withdrew from the Rogers Cup to lighten his schedule but faces the daunting prospect of two matches in the same day, with rain delays earlier in the week meaning his quarter-final against fellow Swiss Stan Wawrinka will take place later on Center Court.
World number two Federer coasted past Peter Gojowczyk in his first match back on the ATP Tour since his shock Wimbledon quarter-final defeat to Kevin Anderson and looked set for another comfortable win after racing into a one-set lead versus Mayer.
The Argentine showed great character and gave far less away on serve to force a second-set tie-break, but the 2015 champion - competing in Cincinnati for the first time since lifting the title - had too much quality in the clutch moments and advanced.
Federer immediately appeared keen to get off court as quickly as possible ahead of the quarter-finals as he put Mayer's serve under pressure.
The 20-time major winner earned himself three break points in game two with the assistance of a magnificent cross-court forehand pass, but he failed to use any of them to his advantage.
The Swiss was not as forgiving with the next opportunities that came his way and he racked up five games in succession to take the first set in just 24 minutes.
Mayer responded by tightening things up and being more clinical on his first serve, but he was unable to give Federer any cause for concern when returning as the set went to a tie-break.
Again the Argentine displayed his resilience by fighting from 5-1 down to level things up, only for Federer to force him wide by attacking the net before seeing out the match with an ace.