Federer warms up for title defence by freezing out Zelda

Wed Feb 13, 2013 5:43pm EST
 
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By Theo Ruizenaar

ROTTERDAM (Reuters) - Roger Federer struggled to see the ball and felt the conditions at the World Indoor Tournament were a little too warm for his liking but that did not stop the top seed from romping to a 6-3 6-1 win over Slovenian Grega Zemlja in the first round on Wednesday.

Playing his first competitive match for almost three weeks, the Swiss defending champion struggled with his first serve in front of a capacity 10,500 crowd but he still completed victory in 58 minutes.

He won 10 straight points in the first set to take a 4-2 lead and from then on Federer allowed his opponent only two more games to wrap up his 10th straight win in Rotterdam.

"My start wasn't so well because it was warmer on the court compared the training sessions I had the previous day," Federer told reporters.

"It was also a bit difficult to see the ball in the beginning and while that might sound strange, there also is some pressure of playing a first round."

Fourth seed Richard Gasquet joined the 17-times grand slam champion in the second round with a 7-6 6-1 win over Serbia's Viktor Troicki.

Gasquet will next face Marcos Baghdatis who advanced after Benoit Paire pulled out injured. The Cypriot was leading 6-0 6-7 4-0.

Gilles Simon, seeded fifth, and Julien Benneteau completed a good day for France.

Simon eased past Italian qualifier Matteo Viola 6-3 6-1 to reach the quarter-final, while Benneteau also dropped just four games in his 6-1 6-3 win over Victor Hanescu.

(Reporting by Theo Ruizenaar, editing by Pritha Sarkar)