(CNN) -- Roger Federer is on course for a second successive World Tennis Tournament title after he defeated Dutch wild card Thiemo de Bakker 6-3 6-4 in just over an hour in Rotterdam.
The Swiss 17-time grand slam winner has lost just five times in his eight appearances at the tournament and never looked in any trouble against his 24-year-old opponent.
Federer will now play Julien Benneteau in the quarterfinals on Friday as he goes in search of his 77th career title.
"I'm happy. Things are obviously pretty quick indoors," Federer said in a court side interview. "Thiemo can serve well and he is very talented, so it is a good victory for me."
The man Federer beat in last year's final, Juan Martin Del Potro, from Argentina, is on course to meet his nemesis again after disposing of Latvian Ernests Gulbis 7-6 6-3.
The Argentinean fired 12 aces past his opponent as he goes in search of his 14th Tour title. He will now play Jarkko Nieminen in the last eight after the Finn beat German qualifier Matthias Bachinger 6-3 5-7 6-3.
Cypriot Marcos Baghdatis eased past Frenchman Richard Gasquet, the fourth seed, with a 6-4 6-4 win.
Elsewhere, the International Tennis Federation announced Thursday that Barbora Strycova has been handed a backdated six-month ban after testing positive for a banned stimulant.
The 26-year-old gave a positive test for sibutramine on October 16 at the Luxembourg Open as a result of taking weight-loss supplement ACAI Berry Thin but denied she had any intention to enhance her performance.
The ITF said it "did not dispute" Strycova's account and backdated her ban, meaning the Czech player will be able to compete again from April 16 onwards.