| Roger Federer celebrates his victory over Carlos Moya in a fourth round match at Roland Garros on Sunday. Federer eased past Moya 6-1, 6-4, 6-3. (AFP)
Paris: World No. 1 Roger Federer underlined his status as French Open favourite by hammered former champion Carlos Moya 6-1, 6-4, 6-3 to reach the quarter finals on Sunday.
The top seed, chasing the only Grand Slam title to elude him, proved his ambitions were serious by crushing the Spaniard in just an hour and 41 minutes in the first true test of his campaign.
Federer, who has not dropped a set yet, played close to perfection until 14th seed Moya, who looked clueless at times, bowed out by failing to return a blistering forehand on the third match point.
The World No.1 said the Spaniard’s sore shoulder had played as much a part in the game as his own form.
“Not all that fantastic because he’s injured,” the Swiss said when asked to assess his form.
“With the problem in the shoulder... I think he is very disappointed to have to play like this. But it went fine.
The elegant 23-year-old faces a seemingly easy passage through to the semi-finals as he now meets world No. 90 Victor Hanescu of Romania, who overcame former Wimbledon finalist David Nalbandian 6-3, 4-6, 5-7, 6-1, 6-2.
If he were to beat Hanescu, Federer could then meet Spanish prodigy Rafael Nadal for a place in the final.
The exit of Nalbandian, seeded 10th, leaves four Argentine players in the draw.
One of them is ninth seed Guillermo Canas, who needed five sets and as many hours to overcome Frenchman Paul-Henri Mathieu 6-3, 7-6, 2-6, 6-7, 8-6.
Canas, who survived two match points, was two sets up when the contest was interrupted because of darkness on Saturday.
The opening match on the first week’s final day had seen world No. 1 Lindsay Davenport stage a remarkable comeback to beat Kim Clijsters 1-6, 7-5, 6-3 and reach the quarter finals.
The only remaining American in either singles draw, top seed Davenport looked helpless in the first set and was 1-3 down in the second but she recovered to beat Belgian Clijsters for the first time in seven meetings.
“I’m really a little bit amazed I was able to pull that match out today,” said Davenport. “I’m so excited to be in the quarters, right now I’m just ecstatic to be where I am.”
Former world No. 1 Clijsters, a runner-up in Paris in 2001 and 2003, seemed on her way to a comfortable win, taking the first set in just 20 minutes, but her nerve then failed her and she collapsed.
The combative Belgian, seeded 14th, was a doubtful starter for the tournament because of strained knee ligaments.
However, she had breezed into the last 16 despite heavy strapping on her right knee, which she sported again on Sunday.
Davenport, who has won every grand slam tournament but this one, took four weeks off the circuit before coming to Paris, her preparations including a vacation in Mexico.
The American, who has often struggled on the Paris clay with a semi-final appearance in 1998 her best result, will meet local favourite Mary Pierce for a place in the semi-finals.
The 30-year-old Pierce, who won here in 2000, kept the French flag flying after edging out eighth seed Patty Schnyder 6-1, 1-6, 6-4 to reach the last eight.
Russia’s Nadia Petrova won her match against compatriot Elena Bovina in the fourth round 7-5, 3-6, 6-4.
Bhupathi climbs up
Leander Paes, meanwhile, had a fruitful outing on Sunday as he booked a quarter final berth in the men’s and mixed doubles events.
The Indian first teamed up with Nenad Zimonjic of Serbia and Montenegro to beat Czech Republic pair of Frantisek Cermak and Leos Friedl 7-6 (7-5), 6-4 in the men’s doubles. Then, he and Martina Navratilova of the US thrashed Dinara Safina of Russia and Simon Aspelin of Sweden 6-4, 6-0.
Paes and Zimonjic, the seventh seeds, now face third seeds Mike and Bob Bryan of the US for a place in the semi-finals.
In the mixed doubles, Paes and Navratilova will meet the winner of the match between Corina Morariu and Jerad Palmer of the US and Zimonjic and Ana Ivanovic of Serbia and Montenegro.
Mahesh Bhupathi and American partner Lisa Raymond also booked their place in the quarter finals of the mixed doubles after defeating Katarina Srebotnik of Slovakia and Todd Woodbridge of Australia 7-5, 7-6 (7-4).
In junior action, Vivek Shokeen put up a strong challenge before bowing out in the first round of the boy’s singles. He battled two hours and 24 minutes before losing 7-6 (8-6), 5-7, 3-6 to German Jochen Schottler.
Sanam Singh too bit the dust in the first round with a 1-6, 3-6 defeat to Gianluca Naso of Italy. (AGENCIES)