Thu, Oct 29, 2015 - Page 20 News List

Federer barrels through first Swiss Indoors rival

AFP, BASEL, Switzerland

Belgium’s David Goffin returns to Italy’s Andreas Seppi in their Swiss Indoors opening match at the St Jakobshalle in Basel, Switzerland, on Tuesday.

Photo: AFP

Roger Federer on Tuesday charged past his first hurdle in the quest for a lucky seventh title at the Swiss Indoors, with the top seed delivering a crushing 6-1, 6-2 lesson to Mikhail Kukushkin.

Federer set up a second-round contest with good friend Philipp Kohlschreiber, who he has beaten in all 10 of their matches, after the German started with a 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 defeat of Poland’s Jerzy Janowicz.

Last year’s finalist, David Goffin of Belgium, who was hammered by Federer in less than an hour a year ago in the title match, won his opening encounter as he beat Italy’s Andreas Seppi 3-6, 6-4, 6-4.

France’s Richard Gasquet, seeded fifth, kept his slender hopes of a year-end spot in London alive as he beat Jiri Vesely 6-3, 6-7 (2/7), 6-4.

Gasquet would have to win titles at both Basel and the Paris Masters next week to have a chance of making the eight-player field, according to ATP calculations.

Sixth-seeded John Isner of the US needed 64 minutes to put out Ernests Gulbis, sending down 16 aces in a 6-3, 6-4 win. Grigor Dimitrov began erasing a run of recent poor form, as the Bulgarian beat Sergiy Stakhovsky 6-3, 6-4.

Federer’s demolition in front of an appreciative home public at the event where the 17-time Grand Slam winner got his start in the game as a ball boy took only 54 minutes.

“What I did was good, maybe I could have been a bit more efficient on break point chances and tried a few different things that didn’t match up that well with what he was doing, but I moved well, served well and got off to a good start. That was the goal. Once in the lead I was able to stretch that and keep the pressure on him,” the Swiss world No. 3 said.

Federer said that the victory was just the tonic he needed in the wake of an opening-round loss two weeks ago in Shanghai, where he was defending that Masters 1000 title.

“I’m very pleased for a first-round win, especially after Shanghai. To come out and play positive tennis was good fun today,” Federer said.

The top-seeded Swiss is seeking his 10th straight finals appearance at Basel.

He last beat his 64th-ranked Kazakh opponent in the Davis Cup quarter-finals in Geneva a year ago.

“I was seeing the ball as big as a melon,” said the 34-year-old, who has five titles this season. “I’m very happy with this performance, especially to advance so well here at home.”

“This was a very good start for me, an enjoyable match,” he added.

Federer said he cannot take upcoming opponent Kohlschreiber for granted, despite his 100 percent record.

“The next match will be a bigger challenge and a different challenge against Kohlschreiber. He’s got different weapons than Kukushkin,” Federer said. “If you have beaten someone 10 times, there is the possibility that the next time you could have a loss, but having that kind of a record is always good for confidence.”

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