Monte Carlo, April 20:

Top-ranked Roger Federer of Switzerland beat Benjamin Balleret of Monaco 6-3, 6-2 on Thursday in a third-round match at the Monte Carlo Masters.

Federer reached his third quarter-final at Monte Carlo, and will advance to the semi-finals for the first time if he beats David Ferrer of Spain on Friday.

In other matches, Tommy Robredo of Spain beat David Nalbandian of Argentina 5-7, 6-1, 7-5, Ivan Ljubicic of Croatia beat Gilles Simon of France 6-3, 6-2, and Ferrer beat countryman Juan Carlos Ferrero 6-1, 6-7 (5), 6-3.

“It’s the first match of my life on center court here, and I hope it’s not my last,” Ljubicic said. “I had only two days to prepare and I was struggling a bit in my first two matches. Today it was much better and I’m looking forward to the quarter-finals.” Simon, a runner-up at Valencia, Spain, said he was tired after a long match Wednesday against Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic.

Eleventh-seeded Ferrero, the 2003 French Open champion, saved one match point with a neat drop shot but lost when he was at full stretch retrieving from the baseline and his return bounced out.

Ferrer now leads Ferrero 3-1 in head-to-head matches, and improved to 14-9 overall for the season. Although both clay-court specialists, it was their first meeting on the surface.