MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Cooling temperatures in the Melbourne evening forced Roger Federer to rethink his tactics in a clinical 6-4 6-2 7-5 rout of Taiwan’s Lu Yen-Hsun under the lights of Rod Laver Arena on Monday.
In ominous form after winning the Brisbane International in the leadup, the 33-year-old Swiss was impenetrable on serve and charged around the court to preserve his unbeaten record in the first round at Melbourne Park in his 16th appearance.
As the game progressed into the evening, however, Federer found the Taiwanese got more and more into the match, giving him a decent first round workout despite the comparative ease with which the Swiss master managed to advance into the second round.
“I thought I was playing very well through the first couple of sets, I was returning and able to dominate the plays from the back,” Federer told reporters.
“I think conditions slowed down a bit. Because of the coolness and the night coming in, I felt it was hard to generate stuff (and) it became a very interesting third set.
“Instead of sort of just steamrolling through him he really made it tough for me.”
The type of match was probably exactly what Federer needed in the first round of the season opening grand slam.
He continued with the things that were working well, like his serve, and worked on the aspects of his game that he may need to introduce more as he progresses through the tournament.
“I was holding my service games very comfortably,” he added. “Until probably 5-2 in the second set was the first time he had any play on my service game.
“I started to mix it up and trying out things because I had to toward the end of the third.
“I adjusted to the conditions, because it did play different at 7:00 than it did at 8:30. A drastic change, in my opinion.”
The 47th-ranked Lu exploited the slowing pace of the balls to make the third set a contest, but lost serve in the 11th game before Federer sealed the match in less than two hours.
“Winning first round, it’s always a bit of a relief,” added Federer, who will play Italian Simone Bolelli in the next round.
“I thought I played good.”
Reporting by Ian Ransom and Greg Stutchbury; Editing by Amlan Chakraborty/Sudipto Ganguly