Fuss-free Federer roars into second round

Mon Jan 18, 2016 6:40am EST
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By Ian Ransom

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - A rampaging Roger Federer kicked off his 17th Australian Open campaign with a 6-2 6-1 6-2 demolition of Georgian battler Nikoloz Basilashvili to reach the second round on Monday.

On a day when match-fixing allegations cast a pall over the tournament's opening matches, the purity of Federer's game shone through in a floodlit Rod Laver Arena as the Swiss master put on a masterclass of clean hitting.

Spared the sweltering conditions of the day session, Federer barely raised a sweat in hammering Basilashvili, sending 31 winners whistling past the 117th-ranked Georgian.

Having battled a flu during his run to the final of the Brisbane International, the 34-year-old, a winner of four Australian Open titles, was grateful to save his energy for more taxing encounters ahead.

"I'm really pleased how I was able to play. Definitely gives me a bit of a lift in confidence, you know, because this year I haven't been able to play properly yet," Federer told reporters.

"I mean, I had some decent matches in Brisbane, but it was all under sort of a cloud knowing that I wasn't 100 percent.

"But this was a match where I was able to focus on my game, on tactics, all that stuff. So it was nice to play that way."

Federer's only wobble came early, when he surrendered serve in the sixth game of the first set, but he responded by winning six straight games to leave the Georgian reeling.   Continued...

Switzerland's Roger Federer celebrates after winning his first round match against Georgia's Nikoloz Basilashvili at the Australian Open tennis tournament at Melbourne Park, Australia, January 18, 2016. REUTERS/Jason Reed