'Now that Rafa is out I know I can make big strides.'
Roger Federer reached the Rogers Cup semi-finals on Friday after coming to the net early and often in a straight sets victory over Roberto Bautista Agut on a windy day in Montreal.
World number three Federer, who faces Dutchman Robin Haase in the last four, was never seriously pushed by Spain's Bautista Agut, who is winless in seven matches against the Swiss maestro.
"I think it pays off playing aggressive here in Montreal," Federer said in a courtside interview after his 6-4, 6-4 win over the 12th seed.
"Plus I feel comfortable at the net so why not spend some time up there instead of slugging it out from the baseline?"
Federer opened the second set with a break and cruised through the rest of the match, which lasted just over an hour.
With world number two Rafael Nadal eliminated on Thursday by 18-year-old Canadian Denis Shapovalov and world number one Andy Murray sidelined by a rib injury, Federer has an opportunity to regain his World number one ranking.
He would need to win the Rogers Cup and have an equal or better finish than Nadal at the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati next week to become the world number one on August 21.
"Now that Rafa is out I know I can make big strides, especially if I was to go further than the semis here. But it's all connected to great play," said the Australian Open and Wimbledon champion.
In the other quarter-finals, Shapovalov came from a set down to beat Adrian Mannarino of France 2-6, 6-3, 6-4, and Germany's Alexander Zverev dismissed South Africa's Kevin Anderson in straight sets, 7-5, 6-4.
Earlier, Haase recovered to defeat Argentine Diego Schwartzman 4-6, 6-3, 6-3 in their quarter-final.
Wozniacki upsets world number one Pliskova
Caroline Wozniacki defeated world number one Karolina Pliskova 7-5, 6-7(3), 6-4 in a marathon Rogers Cup quarter-finals match in Toronto marred by four rain delays on Friday.
The delays, which all came during the first set, appeared to boost the sixth-seeded Dane, who was trailing 3-0 when the match was interrupted.
Wozniacki appeared relaxed during the breaks, which gave her time to consult with her father and longtime coach Piotr Wozniacki, before she won five straight games and ultimately took the first set.
"Almost every tournament I've played this year there has been a rain delay so at this point I just have to laugh because I feel like it is following me," she said during a courtside interview after the three hour 26 minute match.
"Every time this year when it has been raining I've had a great tournament, so I thought this must be luck."
The delays and Wozniacki's solid all-around game appeared to throw off the big-serving Pliskova, who was playing in her first tournament since becoming the world number one.
The victory marks Wozniacki's first career win against a world number one and gives the 27-year-old a 6-2 advantage in head-to-head matches with Pliskova.
Wozniacki next faces Sloane Stephens after the American beat Czech Lucie Safarova 6-2, 1-6, 7-5.
The remaining two quarters will be decided on Saturday.
Fourth-seeded Spaniard Garbine Muguruza is one set up against Elina Svitolina of Ukraine, winning the opener 6-4, while Simona Halep has yet to start her match against Caroline Garcia.