Mayer alone understandably found the afternoon a fun-free zone, as the world No.68 slumped to his fourth career defeat by Federer.
The Argentinian had dismissed the No.17 seed, last year’s quarter-finalist Diego Schwartzman, in the second round, and perhaps he hoped to prosper more on his favourite clay than on the hard courts which monopolised his previous three defeats to the Swiss. But if anything, matters were worse.
Federer won 82% of points on his first serve, tormenting Mayer with regular chip-and-charge, and delivering 30 winners. Two days ago, Federer allowed young Casper Ruud to break his serve at the start of the third set; but in this match Mayer was not permitted a single break point.
All of who watch Federer in action are inclined sometimes to focus somewhat on his age; and it is true that the 37-year-old has now become the oldest quarter-finalist at Roland-Garros since 1971.
But sometimes it feels as if Federer is discussed in the manner of a benevolent great-uncle, as if he has recently developed an interest in peering garden birds through his bi-focals, which he keeps on a chain around his neck for fear of mislaying them. Any minute now someone will be describing him as “spry”.