Federer tops Nieminen in Brisbane opener, plays Matosevic in QFs

Roger Federer began his 2014 ATP World Tour season with a 6-4, 6-2 victory over fellow 32-year-old Jarkko Nieminen on Wednesday at the Brisbane International presented by Suncorp.

Federer extended his perfect Head 2 Head record against Nieminen to 14-0 with victory in 69 minutes. The pair first met at the 2002 Kremlin Cup in Moscow.

Federer lost five service points in the second set. Nieminen could not convert three break point opportunities at 0-3, but avoided a bagel with a service hold in the fifth game. The World No. 39 dropped to 11-71 lifetime against players in the Top 10 of the ATP Rankings.

"Most important is that you win the match so you get a second chance to judge your game a bit better," said Federer. "That's why it's most important to get an extra day or two. Now I have doubles tomorrow and the singles the next day, so it's really good for rhythm and good for your game.

"I expect myself to play a bit better in the next match, even though today was already very good for a first match in so many weeks, to be honest, and against Nieminen who can play very good tennis. Particularly here in Australia."

This is the first time that Federer has played an Australian tournament in the opening week of the season since 2000, when he reached Adelaide second round. The last time he contested an ATP World Tour event Down Under before the Australian Open was 2002 at Sydney, where he defeated Juan Ignacio Chela in the final.

When asked about why he is using a bigger headed racquet, Federer said, "I had a much longer time to get ready for this swing than I had last time around, after Wimbledon, before the American summer. So I'm not thinking about it when I'm going out there, which is a great thing. I'm hitting the ball really well, so I'm very pleased with the racquet."

Top seed Federer will next play Australian No. 3 Marinko Matosevic in the quarter-finals. Matosevic beat Sam Querrey 5-7, 7-6(3), 6-4 earlier in the day.

Federer was relieved to discover Matosevic was not from Brisbane.

"You never know quite what to expect, if they’re going to come out and be excited," he said.

"It’s nice seeing that happening, and it’s definitely going to lift my game if it continues this way."

Date: 1st January 2014, Source: ATP


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