Roger Federer kicked off his world rankings summit bid with a 6-1 6-2 hammering of Ruben Bemelmans at the Rotterdam Open on Wednesday.

The Swiss maestro needs to reach the semi-finals to go back to number one, having won the tournament twice, and needed just 47 minutes to end qualifier Bemelmans' challenge.

Federer, the 20-time grand slam champion, raced through the first set in a little over 20 minutes and found precious little resistance in the second.

The evergreen 36-year-old – back in competitive action for the first time since winning his sixth Australian Open title – was quickly into his stride, breaking his opponent at the first opportunity as his finesse and precision came to the fore.

World number 116 Bemelmans, facing Federer for the first time, simply could not live with the veteran's stunning array of shots.

And Federer's tactical nous was also evident, moving Bemelmans around the court at will and exploiting the gaps off both wings.

When Bemelmans could get a look-in, his rare winners were met with warm applause from a sympathetic crowd.

But the overawed 30-year-old was merely delaying the inevitable and Federer can surely expect a sterner test from second-round opponent Philipp Kohlschreiber.