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MONACO – Roger Federer eased into the third round of the Monte Carlo Masters after beating veteran Radek Stepanek 6-1, 6-2 in 52 minutes on Wednesday.
Federer, returning to the tournament for the first time since 2011, was in ruthless mood as he raced to 5-0 in 17 minutes. The 17-time Grand Slam champion improved his record against the 35-year-old Stepanek to 14-2. The Czech has not beaten Federer since the quarterfinals of the Rome Masters six years ago.
The fourth-seeded Federer next plays another Czech, Lukas Rosol, who beat Frenchman Michael Llodra 6-4, 6-4.
Federer has never won Monte Carlo, losing in three straight finals to Rafael Nadal from 2006-08.
The eight-time champion Nadal was in action late Wednesday against qualifier Teymuraz Gabashvili.