Tennis ace Roger Federer matched his career-best start to a season Friday (March 16)  when he defeated South Korea's Chung Hyeon in the quarter-final of BNP Paribas Open 2018 and took his tally to 16-0 in 2018.

The 36-year-old had made a similar start to the 2006 season, in which he was unbeaten in the first 16 matches and won three of the four major titles.

With Friday's win over the reigning NextGen ATP Finals champion, the oldest world no 1 also assured himself an extended stay at the top of the ATP rankings.

Federer's top three starts

As per data available on ATP's official website

Year Unbeaten streak
2018 16
2012 16
2007 12

Notably, Federer needed to reach the semi-final of the ATP Masters 1000 tournament in Indian Wells to prevent nearest-rival Rafael Nadal from leapfrogging him on the ATP charts for men's singles players.

The 20-time Grand Slam champion, who is defending 1,000 points in the ongoing tournament, has 10,060 ranking points and is 600 points above the Spanish star, who has pulled out of Indian Wells and Miami Masters.

Federer started his quarter-final tie against Chung by converting a breakpoint as early as in the first game. He went 3-0 up in the first set before being broken back by the world no 26. The numero uno, though, stayed composed and clinched the first set 7-5 before demolishing his opponent 6-1 in the second set.

The five-time champion will face world no 49 Borna Coric of Croatia in the semi-final match Saturday, March 17.

Federer has been defying odds and age ever since he ended his four-year drought for a Grand slam title on return from a six-month injury layoff at Australian Open 2017. He had headed into last season's first Grand Slam as the 17th-ranked player but beat Nadal in a marathon five-setter in the final.

Roger Federer
Federer defeated Chung Hyeon in straight sets Friday, March 16.Harry How/Getty Images

The father-of-four went on to continue dominating the men's singles field in 2017, winning the Sunshine Double and the Wimbledon title.

Federer has already defended his title at Australian Open 2018 and won an ATP 500 tournament in Rotterdam last month. He will be heading to Miami Masters later this month, looking to complete another Sunshine Double, provided he finishes on the top step of the podium in Indian Wells.

Even as his contemporaries struggle to remain injury-free, the Swiss ace seems to be hungrier than ever for titles on the ATP tour.