x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Roger Federer eases into next round of Australian Open

The Swiss world No 2 beats the Slovakian Lukas Lacko 6-1, 6-1, 6-3 in 84 minutes in Melbourne.

Roger Federer wasted no time in advancing to the second round of the Australian Open.
Roger Federer wasted no time in advancing to the second round of the Australian Open.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA // Roger Federer did not waste any time today at the Australian Open, winning his opening match by playing like a man who doesn't want his remarkable 7 1/2-year run of success in Grand Slams to end.

Federer was rarely troubled in beating Lukas Lacko of Slovakia 6-1, 6-1, 6-3 in 84 minutes on the first day at Melbourne Park, barely waiting for ballboys and ballgirls to get back to their positions before serving.

"I tried to play offensive from the start and see where it takes me," Federer said. "I was able to keep on pressing, put him on the back foot. I was really happy I chose that tactic early on to pressure him."

Andy Roddick was rarely under pressure in his 6-1, 6-2, 6-2 win Jan Hajek of the Czech Republic. The eighth-seeded American is trying to end a Grand Slam drought. His one and only major came at the 2003 US Open.

"I had a good off season," Roddick said. "I feel healthy and strong for the first time in a while. I certainly feel like I'm prepared."

Sixth-seeded Tomas Berdych, who lost last year's Wimbledon final to Rafael Nadal, beat Marco Crugnola of Italy 6-4, 6-0, 6-2.

On the women's side, Caroline Wozniacki started her first major as the No 1-ranked woman with a 6-3, 6-4 victory over Argentina's Gisela Dulko.

It was 20-year-old Wozniacki's first win of the year, following a straight-sets loss to Slovakia's Dominika Cibulkova last week at the Sydney International and exhibition losses to No 2 Vera Zvonareva and Kim Clijsters in Singapore and Hong Kong.

Wozniacki won six tournaments in 2010, including four of her last six.

Fifth-seeded Venus Williams advanced after beating Sara Errani of Italy 6-3, 6-2. The American star is the only Williams sister in the draw this year after defending champion Serena withdrew because of a foot injury.

Maria Sharapova won for the first time at Melbourne Park since taking the 2008 title, beating Thai veteran Tamarine Tanasugarn 6-1, 6-3 in the opening match on Rod Laver Arena.