Federer Impresses In Opener
by Dana Hatic|
Two-time Sony Ericsson Open champion Roger Federer took the court in top form today, in his first match of the tournament against the Czech Republic’s Radek Stepanek. Federer, ranked No. 3 in the world, served seven aces in the hour-long match, closing out Stepanek 6-3, 6-3.
At one all in the second set, Federer broke Stepanek and made a quick run to a 5-3 advantage. Federer closed out the match on a break-point, up 40-0. “It was interesting playing against him,” Federer said. “He can absorb pace really well. I was able to play solid and keep him moving and serve at a high first serve percentage, which was the goal as well today.”
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The Swiss player triumphed in front of a packed stadium, which erupted with cheers upon the conclusion of the match. Federer leads 11-2 in match-ups, and has won the last 15 consecutive sets against Stepanek.
With today’s win, Federer now ties Pete Sampras at No. 7 for 762 career match wins, seventh among the Open Era leaders' list.
1. Jimmy Connors 1,242
2. Ivan Lendl 1,071
3. Guillermo Vilas 923
4. John McEnroe 875
5. Andre Agassi 870
6. Stefan Edberg 806
7T Roger Federer 762
7T Pete Sampras 762
“It's a funny stat,” Federer said, “but it shows how long I have been around already, how much I've won all around the world and all the different surfaces.” As far as reaching Jimmy Connors is concerned, Federer said, “I have a long way to go.”
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Russian Mikhail Youzhny also lit up the court this morning, to defeat Yen-Hsun Lu 6-1, 6-0 in 53 minutes. The No. 13 seed won 70% of the points and converted five breaks to close out Lu, who had five double-faults in the match.
Jo-Wilfred Tsonga, the 15th seed, took his match in three sets to advance over Teymuraz Gabashvili 6-3, 6-7(3), 6-3. Tsonga, a former finalist at the Australian Open, has not won a singles title since 2009, but played cleanly today. The Frenchman had only one double fault and struck 15 aces.
Juan Monaco also won in three sets, after Sergiy Stakhovsky battled back in the second set tie-break. The Argentine had four aces and converted five breaks to advance with a 6-4, 6-7(2), 6-4 win in his first meeting with Stakhovsky. Monaco faces Federer in the next round.
Feliciano Lopez secured his first win against, Juan Ignacio Chela, 7-6(3), 3-6, 6-4. With 18 aces, Lopez took the match in just over two hours. Chela was seeded No. 26, but Lopez moves on and could face World No. 1 Rafael Nadal in the third round.
The morning session saw two retirements, one from No. 20 Albert Montanes of Spain, who left his match with Florian Mayer due to neck pain. Mayer had won the first set 6-4 and was up 3-1 in the second. Andreas Seppi also retired for a left ankle sprain, down 5-3 in the second set to Alexandr Dolgopolov. The Ukranian faces Tsonga in the next round.
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