Federer in destructive mood in Monte Carlo

By Mark Meadows

MONACO (Reuters) - Roger Federer reminded the tennis world of his destructive power with a 6-2 6-1 rout of German Philipp Kohlschreiber in the Monte Carlo Masters second round on Tuesday.

All the talk in the buildup to the first men's claycourt tournament of the year had been about the in-form Novak Djokovic and his recent domination of world number one Rafael Nadal.

But record 16-times grand slam champion Federer took the chance to lay down a marker and show he is not yet a spent force by immediately finding his rhythm against Kohlschreiber with forehand and backhand.

"It's clearly a good start for me to the claycourt season," the 29-year-old told reporters.

"I was able to do all the things I wanted to. I was consistent. I could finish a point almost when I wanted to."

The day had started grey and cold but just as the Swiss stepped on court the sun burst through the clouds, the stands filled up and the crowd gave him a superb reception despite their love of six-times Monte Carlo champion Nadal.

MINI WOBBLE

World number two Djokovic, who beat Nadal in the final in his last two tournaments, has skipped the event because of a minor knee injury.

"Nadal will be hard to beat," added Federer who could meet the Spaniard in Sunday's final at one of the circuit's most glitzy events.

"He is clearly the overwhelming favorite even though I haven't seen him play yet. But I still wouldn't be happy losing to him in the final."

In first-round matches, Frenchman Gilles Simon cheered the home crowd with a 6-3 6-2 win over Brazil's Thomaz Bellucci and Spain's Feliciano Lopez beat Serb Janko Tipsarevic 4-6 6-3 7-6.

Argentine qualifier Maximo Gonzalez also disposed of Romanian Victor Hanescu 3-6 7-5 6-1.

(Editing by Tony Jimenez)