With the 2013 French Open less than two weeks away, the top tennis players in the world have come to put their abilities on display at the Rome Masters. In the third round of action, it was a familiar face that stepped up to make a statement.
Roger Federer is back in his Hall of Fame form after picking up a smooth victory over Gilles Simon.
Simon, the No. 17 player in the world, was no match for Federer, as the Swiss legend dismantled him by a score of 6-1, 6-2. Federer defeated Potito Starace by that same count in the second round, thus proving what we've already known as true.
When Federer is on his game, there are few men in the world who can even come close to defeating him.
Federer, 31, will play 22-year-old Jerzy Janowicz of Poland in the in the quarterfinals. This may seem like a no contest, but don't jump the gun quite yet.
With that being said, Federer isn't just playing good tennis during this tournament. Instead, he's bounced back from early season woes to put on the type of performances we've come to expect from the active legend.
That spells bad news for anyone in his path.
Slow Start Concluded
The 2013 season has been one to forget for Roger Federer, as he's experienced quite the uncharacteristic start. After losing in the semifinals at the Australian Open, Federer has yet to win any of the four tournaments he's played in prior to the Rome Masters.
That includes a third round loss to Kei Nishikori at the Madrid Open.
At the Rome Masters, however, Federer has been a dominant force, dispatching his first two opponents. While the win over Starace may not be of powerful significance, the victory over Simon sent a clear message.
Federer is back on his game.
As for why this is important, it's all about momentum entering a tournament that has been dominated by Rafael Nadal. Fortunately, Federer has experienced more success at the French Open than any other player not named Nadal since the Spaniard took over.
That may not be saying much, but at the same time, it's saying a lot.
Since 2005, Spanish sensation Rafael Nadal has won seven of the eight French Open tournament crowns. The only time that Nadal failed to win the French Open was 2009, when he lost in the fourth round to Robin Soderling.
That year, it was Roger Federer that took home the title—is anyone surprised?
Since 2006, Federer has made five trips to the French Open Finals, including his 2009 championship run. During the 2012 French Open, Federer lost a straight set semifinals clash against Novak Djokovic.
As if that's such a terrible place to lose.
As we make our way through the Rome Masters field, however, Federer has a chance to make history. In what is an undeniably stunning truth, Federer has never won the Rome Masters.
This year could change all of that and thus create something no tennis player would ever want Federer to have in his corner—momentum.
If Federer is to make his way through the Rome Masters and pick up the victory, he'd immediately become the favorite to dethrone Nadal. After all, Nadal has won six of the past eight Rome Masters tournaments.
Fortunately for Federer, he's hitting his stride at the perfect time to break that trend.