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Federer Chases Missing Link In Paris

Paris, France

Federer© Getty ImagesRoger Federer has never been beyond the Paris quarter-finals.

Roger Federer continues to run into some of his best form of the year, dismissing Richard Gasquet 6-4, 6-4 to reach the third round of the BNP Paribas Masters in Paris. The Swiss has won 14 of 15 matches played since the US Open and looms as the man to beat at the season-ending Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, which begins Sunday week.

But Federer has plenty of unfinished business ahead of him this week before he embarks on a fifth year-end title at The O2 in London. Describing the BNP Paribas Masters as his ‘worst’ ATP World Tour Masters 1000 in terms of playing performance, Federer has never reached the semi-finals in seven previous attempts.

Points Breakdown: The Battle For London

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His glittering Masters 1000 career, which has reaped 17 titles, includes titles at six different 1000s events and runs to the final of two others. This week Federer is attempting to end his title drought in Paris and equal Rafael Nadal’s record haul of 18 career ATP World Tour Masters 1000 titles.

Federer broke Gasquet early in both sets and served brilliantly to stay ahead. He dropped just four points on serve, did not face a break point and clubbed 28 winners to just 14 unforced errors.

"It is always dangerous playing against Richard here," Federer said. "I don't think there was much between us except maybe a couple of games where I played really well."

Federer next meets Czech veteran Radek Stepanek, whom he defeated 6-3, 6-2 last week in Basel en route to his fourth title of the year.

Fourth seed Robin Soderling, who will join Federer at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals next week, advanced to the third round with a 6-4, 6-0 win over Frenchman Gilles Simon. He next meets Stanislas Wawrinka.

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