Federer makes light work of defeating Fish

Roger Federer, Juan Ignacio Chela and Andre Agassi advanced to the Pacific Life Open's quarter-finals by winning in straight sets here late on Tuesday.

Federer earned a 6-4, 6-1 victory over America's Mardy Fish. The win was the Swiss player's 24th in 25 matches since his Tennis Masters Cup championship last November. Federer needed just 71 minutes to beat the 18th seed to advance to a quarter-final against Chela.

The world's No 1 is enjoying this tournament. "I love it, it's really nice," Federer said. "I'm surprised how big the difference from being two, three or four in the world and being No 1 is. It just feels much better."

"He's definitely the best player in the world and is showing it," Fish said. "I'm ranked 19 and I didn't play that badly and he beat me four and one."

Argentina's Chela, who beat Lleyton Hewitt a day earlier, made the quarter-finals with a 6-4, 6-2 victory over Tommy Haas of Germany. Chela followed his three-set win over Hewitt - ending the Australian's 13-match winning streak - with a similarly consistent performance against Haas. He was especially effective with his spinning, hard-to-handle second serves, winning points on 15 of his 18 in the match.

Andre Agassi beat the Russian Mikhail Youzhny 7-5, 6-2 but was down 4-2, 40-love in the first set before staging a comeback and keeping Youzhny at bay with his accurate ground-strokes. "The first set was a bit dodgy, to say the least," Agassi said. "It could have gone either way. At that stage, I was just trying to get myself to relax."

In the women's draw, the top seed Justine Henin-Hardenne of Belgium rallied from a break down in the second set to overcome the talented Czech teenager, Barbora Strycova, 6-3, 6-4. After her victory, Henin-Hardenne said that she learned a great deal from watching Federer play. "I watch him a lot and I'm very impressed," said the world No 1. "The confidence he has is amazing... he is the best for sure."

Lindsay Davenport, back at full strength after three years of injuries, beat her American compatriot Meghann Shaughnessy 6-1, 6-3. Davenport, ranked fourth, looked back in form and has lost only seven games in three matches here this week.

The Russian fourth seed Anastasia Myskina crushed her compatriot, Maria Sharapova, 6-2, 6-1 but No 6 seed, Vera Zvonareva, fell 2-6, 6-2, 6-2 to Nathalie Dechy of France.

* Greg Rusedski was yesterday named in the Great Britain Davis Cup team to play Luxembourg over the Easter weekend. Joining Rusedski and Tim Henman in the squad are Arvind Parmar and Jonathan Marray, an attacking player who is called into the squad for the first time.

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