Following triumphs over Michael Chang and Davide Sanguinetti, Roger Federer advanced into the last 16 in Monte Carlo 2001, finding the form on clay for the first success at the Masters 1000 level on the slowest surface. In a battle for the quarter-final, Federer took down Arnaud Di Pasquale 6-1, 6-2 in 61 minutes, playing his best ATP match on clay in a career up to that point and repeating the result from Miami a couple of weeks earlier when he also competed in the last eight.
Defending his second serve superbly, Federer dropped ten points behind the initial shot and never faced a break point. The pressure was on the other side, and the Frenchman could not deal with it, losing serve four times from 12 opportunities given to the Swiss.
Thus, Federer marched over the finish line in just over an hour and set the clash against another Frenchman, Sebastien Grosjean.
Roger Federer made a great start of the 2001 clay season in Monte Carlo.
"My objective for the clay-court season was to reach at least one quarter-final.
It's nice that it happened in the first tournament because we never know what will happen in the upcoming weeks. The first two matches were fine, and today was even better. I felt better, missing less and with everything working out well.
Although Arnaud was not feeling good, I played an excellent match. I'm less sure of my game on clay in comparison to other surfaces; I must always be cautious as I'm not entirely relaxed. When you grab a break, things start to look more comfortable for you.
You make more winners and more aces. Still, you have to play from the baseline on clay, and I like to finish the point fast; it's a significant change for me. But for the time being, everything is going all right; I'm not asking myself too many questions.
I'm taking my chances to go further, with an opportunity to hit the semis, something I missed against Patrick Rafter in Miami. I think this was my best victory on clay in terms of keeping focus and controlling everything from start to finish.
In Rome last year, I played well against Medvedev, but I lost a few games in a row and found myself 7-5 down in the third despite producing solid tennis. I was dominating from the beginning to the end, from the baseline as well," Roger Federer said,