Federer overcomes early Andreev test to progress

Swiss world number one Roger Federer had some early rocky moments against tricky Russian Igor Andreev but safely negotiated his way into the second round of the Australian Open on Tuesday.

Federer, chasing his 16th Grand Slam title, dropped the opening set, but rattled home against the 37th-ranked Andreev 4-6, 6-2, 7-6 (7/2), 6-0 in two hours 44 minutes on Rod Laver Arena.

The performance gave Federer an early indication of how he stacks up in the opening
Grand Slam tournament of the season after losing to Russian Nikolay Davydenko in his last two matches.

"I know if my body is there and my game is there, I can beat anybody," Federer said.

"You only see that after the first week is over, who's really in good shape and stuff.

"So the way I'm feeling now, I'm very happy. I can really concentrate on the way I want to play and not on my body or anything.

"I'm through in the second round. It's not very deep yet, but at least I got some information, and I feel like I'm playing really well."

Although he stormed through the final set to love with three service breaks, it looked early on as though the Swiss legend was facing a tough tussle against the man who took him to five sets in the fourth round at the 2008 US Open.

It needed Federer to win 6-3 in the fifth set back then to see off Andreev, but once he got over dropping the first set here he charged home.

"I knew from the start it was going to be a tough match," Federer said.

"He's got incredible acceleration on his shots, especially his forehand.

"He's very physical and intense, so I was happy with the start I got today."

"There were a few hiccups, but I think those are more due to his good play and because of also playing against the wind."

Federer broke Andreev's serve nine times, but perhaps of concern to him will have been his own serve broken five times.

Federer, who is bidding to win his fourth Australian titles, has never lost in the first round of the year's opening
Grand Slam in 11 attempts.

The latest victory his
Australian Open record to 48-7 as he competes in his 41st consecutive Grand Slam tournament.

If all goes to plan, Federer is projected to face Davydenko in the quarter-finals.

Andreev, who has given Federer a contest in each of their three meetings, said he had his chances but could not convert them.

"That's the difference in the rankings. That's why he's number one," Andreev said.

"Three times I had really good chances, but then something missed, something went wrong.

"The key point was third set when I didn't use the set points. Then after that I went a little bit down in the fourth physically, mentally.

Federer has missed playing in only one of the last 18
Grand Slam finals and bookmakers have again installed him the favourite to capture his 16th major title.

Last year, he finally broke through at
Roland Garros, clinching the French Open at his 11th attempt and followed up with a sixth Wimbledon crown in seven years.

He became the all-time Grand Slam leader in men's tennis in the process, passing the 14 won by
American Pete Sampras, while retrieving the number one ranking off Rafael Nadal.

Date: 19.01.2010, Source: AFP


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