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November 4, 2009

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Home » Sports » Tennis

Federer makes winning home return

WORLD No. 1 Roger Federer, playing his first match for six weeks, beat qualifier Olivier Rochus in straight sets on Monday to open his defence of his Swiss Indoors ATP title in Basel.

Federer, who has not played since the Davis Cup world group playoff against Italy in September, won 6-3, 6-4 against the world No. 61 from Belgium.

One service break in each set was enough for Federer, who was playing in front of his home crowd at a tournament where he was once a ball boy and which he has won for the last three years.

The Swiss, who suffered a stunning defeat to Juan Martin del Potro in the US Open final, has opted to rest since then, pulling out of two ATP tournaments.

Federer, who maintained a 100 percent record in seven meetings with Rochus, looked fresh although the Belgian held his own until he was broken in the sixth game.

"I was eager to come out and play again and it was a good match for me," Federer told reporters.

"It was nice to come back at a home tournament where I have so many memories. It was a nice start. I thought I served well at the key moments. He got the better of me off the baseline, but I tried to stay aggressive.

"I always try to have an off-season within the season," he added. "It's not so easy to do because I like to play as much as possible but the joy is even greater when you come back off a break."

Federer will face Italy's Andreas Seppi in the next round.

France's Florent Serra, a lucky loser from qualifying, survived a barrage of 28 aces to beat Croatia's Ivo Karlovic 7-6 (5), 6-4. The 71st-ranked Serra will next meet fifth-seeded Radek Stepanek of the Czech Republic, who beat Germany's Rainer Schuettler 6-2, 6-0 in the late match.

In Spain, Nikolay Davydenko made a smooth start to his latest bid to grab a place at the World Tour Finals with a 6-2, 6-1 first-round win over qualifier Alejandro Falla at the Valencia Open.

A title for the Russian world No. 7 would go a long way to securing one of two remaining spots in London at the end of this month.

Also, Tomas Berdych beat Paul-Henri Mathieu 6-3, 6-4.


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