The Australian Open champion was in sizzling form from start to finish against his helpless Belgian opponent – and it took him just 46 minutes to reach the last sixteen.
Rotterdam was a late addition on Federer’s schedule, and he appears determined to seize his opportunity to become the oldest No.1 in the history of the ATP rankings.
Federer, who needs to reach the last four to unseat Rafael Nadal at the top of the game, patrolled the baseline like a panther and smothered his overawed rival with his unrelenting attacking style.
It may have been the Swiss’ first outing since becoming a 20-time major champion, but he was primed and ready from the first ball.
He unleashed 27 winners and committed a miserly seven unforced-errors as he wowed the capacity crowd inside the Ahoy Arena with his shotmaking and flair.
The 36-year-old, who dropped just four points behind his serve, will challenge Philipp Kohlschreiber on Thursday evening.
Alexander Zverev was the biggest casualty on day three. Andreas Seppi scored an impressive 6-4 6-3 over the struggling German.
Grigor Dimitrov made a winning start to his campaign by overcoming Yuichi Sugita 6-4 7-6(5). There were also first round victories for Robin Haase, Pierre-Hugues Herbert, Andrey Rublev and Damir Dzumhur.
In the two second round matches, Tomas Berdych defeated Viktor Troicki 6-1 6-2 and David Goffin eased past Feliciano Lopez 6-1 6-3.