x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 29 July 2017

Federer and Murray feel better on return

It is early days yet, but time off with his family seems to have rejuvenated Roger Federer.

It is early days yet, but time off with his family seems to have rejuvenated Roger Federer. The world No 1 beat Canada's Frederic Niemeyer 7-6 (7-3), 6-4 at the Rogers Cup late on Tuesday in his first match since winning the Wimbledon singles title in July. After spending time with his wife Mirka and twin girls, Federer came through with a victory over the 487th ranked Niemeyer. Although Niemeyer lost his serve at 3-3 in the second set, Federer said Niemeyer had given him trouble with his own serve, making it difficult to establish a rhythm.

"After five or six weeks of not playing matches - just practice matches - you're a little slow on the returns," the Swiss master said after beating Niemeyer, who announced plans to retire at the end of this season. "He's a nice man," said Federer. "It's sad when you leave the game, but he seems happy with himself, so I wish him well. "We played each other in a satellite [tournament] in front of two people. It was snowing outside. And 11 years later we're playing in front of a packed house here in Montreal."

"The atmosphere was unbelievable," Niemeyer said. "It's my last match here and I was able to play the way I'm capable of playing. Too bad it was my last one, but I have no regrets. I just enjoyed the moment." Earlier, Andy Murray - who was off to the best start of his career with a 46-7 record, winning four tournaments this year - beat France's Jeremy Chardy 6-4, 6-2 in the Montreal Masters.

Murray converted three of eight break chances, while Chardy missed all 10 of his. "I feel better now I've got through the first one, because you lose your rhythm a bit," said the third-seed Murray. "I didn't really have more than six or seven days off without playing a match for a long time." Murray will rise about Rafael Nadal to No 2 world rankings if he wins the tournament, or if he reaches the finals and Nadal, who earlier withdrew from Wimbledon because of tendinitis in his knees, loses in the semi- finals or before.

Along with Murray, the fourth-ranked Novak Djokovic rallied for a 6-4, 7-6 (8-6) victory over Canada's Peter Polansky to also be in the third round. sports@thenational.ae