Federer needs a fight to pass first round(Australian Open round-up)

January 19th, 2009 - 9:35 pm ICT by IANS  

Roger FedererMelbourne, Jan 19 (DPA) Swiss champion Roger Federer clawed into the second round of the Australian Open Monday night with a demanding 2009 Grand Slam opening win over Italy’s Andreas Seppi 6-1, 7-6 (7-4), 7-5.The Swiss second seed, winner of three previous Melbourne editions dating to 2004, managed to carry his momentum from a weekend exhibition victory into the first major of the season. But the battle took two and a half hours against the number 34.

“He’s a very tough customer,” said Federer, bidding to tie the all-time record of 14 Grand Slam titles if he can win this edition.

“He plays well on both sides. He served well and made it hard for me. I played well, but I had to against a quality player like him.”

Federer saved break points early in the contest but quickly got into rhythm, sweeping the first set in 24 minutes. Resistance stiffened in the second, with the Swiss forced to save a set point before winning in a tiebreaker after almost an hour.

The third was another battle, with Seppi failing to convert six break points and Federer needing four match points to finally escape.

Defending champion Novak Djokovic paced a seeded Serbian sweep on a steamy opening day here , with all three favourites advancing in efficient straight sets.

Djokovic, seeded third and defending the first major title of his career, rallied in the third set from 0-4 down to overcome 220th-ranked Italian Andrea Stoppini 6-2, 6-3, 7-5 , with temperatures well into the mid-30s Celsius.

It was a similar success story for women’s top seed Jelena Jankovic and number five Ana Ivanovic.

Jankovic stepped lively on new Chinese shoes due for a re-design as the heat from the court forced her to ice her toes on changeovers.

“I will tell them to put some air conditioning in there,” quipped the smiling Serb. “With technology growing and getting better, I believe in the future we will have these kind of things, too. It would be nice.”

The world number one still managed Austrian Yvonne Meusburger 6-1, 6-3 while Ivanovic defeated Germany’s Julia Goerges with some struggle, 7-5, 6-3.

“I don’t expect myself to step on the court and play perfect tennis from very first moment. I’m very pleased to have a victory, obviously,” said the reigning French Open winner.

Six more women’s seeds advanced on a day of dream results, with third seed Dinara Safina beating fellow Russian Alla Kudryavtseva 6-3, 6-4.

Other Russian through included number seven Vera Zvonareva and number 10 Nadia Petrova.

French teenager Alize Cornet, 15th, stopped Mariya Koryttseva of Ukraine 6-3, 6-4 and 16th-seeded former Wimbledon finalist Marion Bartoli put out Briton Melanie South 6-2, 6-4.

In the men’s draw Grand Slam winner Andy Roddick renewed his fight to regain relevance, defeating Swedish qualifier Bjorn Rehnquist 6-0, 6-2, 6-2.

The number eight US player lifted his lone major honour at the 2003 US Open, then gradually slid into neutral and fell from the discussion when big titles were mentioned.

Roddick admits that he’s become yesterday’s man when the talk turns to title tips: Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Djokovic and Andy Murray.

“They absolutely deserve to be the four that get talked about right now. My results last year, especially in Slams, don’t warrant me being talked about.”

Argentine number eight Juan Del Potro overcame a brutal schedule, playing only a day after arriving from a New Zealand title but advancing over Mischa Zverev of Germany 6-3, 6-4, 6-2

Sydney winner David Nalbandian came out of the blocks a winner as the tenth seed beat Marc Gicquel 6-1, 4-6, 6-2, 6-3.

Spanish 11th seed David Ferrer emerged the winner from a dogfight lasting more than three hours as he defeated German Denis Gremelmayr 6-1, 6-7 (6-8), 6-1, 6-7 (4-7), 6-4.

Swiss Stanislas Wawrinka, 15th, was similarly tested in an up-and-down defeat of Czech Ivo Minar 6-1, 2-6, 7-5, 7-6 (11-9) two days after losing the AAMI Classic final to Federer.

Sweden’s 16th seed Robin Soderling put out American Robert Kendrick 5-7, 6-4, 6-4, 7-5.

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