The top-seeded Federer posted a 6-3, 2-6, 6-3 decision against the fearless 18-year-old Djokovic on the red clay at the prestigious Monte-Carlo Country Club.
The mighty Swiss appeared a bit sluggish in his first clay-court match of the year, but following a rough second set, his game opponent ran out of steam in the third, and Federer was through to the next round. The qualifier Djokovic saved three match points before the elegant Swiss converted on a fourth when the young Serb sailed one final forehand long.
The 24-year-old Federer is seeking his third Masters Series title in three events this year, having already claimed shields at Indian Wells and Miami.
Federer, who's already 29-1 for the year, lost only four matches last season, and one of them came here in Monte-Carlo at the hands of French teen Richard Gasquet in the quarterfinals.