Australian Open 2011: Roger Federer eases through
World No2 breezes past unseeded Slovakian Lukas Lacko in straight sets to reach round two
Roger Federer began the defence of his Australian Open title in style by thrashing unseeded Slovakian Lukas Lacko 6-1 6-1 6-3.
Federer was in control from the start, continuing his stunning form from Doha last week where he won the title without dropping a set. The world No2 seemed relaxed on court, never giving his opponent a foothold in the match.
Remarkably, if Federer does not retain his title in Melbourne it will be the first time since 2003 that he has not held at least one grand slam trophy.
Federer said after the match: “I’m really enjoying myself, playing extremely well at the moment and the last six months have been fantastic. I’m very happy how things are going and I will see how far I can go in the tournament.
“I thought it was a good match. I don’t think he played too bad himself. I saw some talent in him and that’s why I was really happy I chose the tactic early on to pressure him. That it worked was great and I’m obviously very happy.”
The Swiss maestro now faces a tricky encounter in round two against former world No7 Giles Simon who defeated Taipei’s Lu Yen-Hsu 6-7 (3-7) 6-2 6-4 6-2.
Intriguingly, the 26-year-old Frenchman, now ranked 34, has beaten Federer during their only two previous meetings.
Third seed Novak Djokovic also sent out warning signs to his rivals, sweeping aside Marcel Granollers 6-1-6-3 6-1. The world No3, who helped Serbia pick up the Davis Cup back in December, was in supreme form, dictating the rallies and utilising his powerful groundstrokes.
The first day brought the crowds many epic encounters and surprise seed exits. Having beaten Rafael Nadal last week, Nickolay Davydenko fell to Florian Mayer 6-3 4-6 7-6 (7-4) 6-4.
Meanwhile, American Sam Querrey was looking to build on his impressive 2010 but was another seeded casualty, the 18th seed losing 5-7 6-2 3-6 6-1 8-6 to Poland’s Lukas Kubot.
His fellow countryman Mardy Fish escaped a first round exit, having to battle from two sets down to see off Victor Hanescu 2-6 4-6 6-3 7-5 6-3.
The charismatic Frenchman Gael Monfils prevailed in a gruelling five-set marathon against Thiemo De Bakker 6-7 (5-7) 2-6 7-5 6-2 6-1 in three hours 38 minutes.
This season holds big things for highly-rated 19-year-old Grigior Dimitriov, who plays with a similar style to Federer. He had to come through qualifying, but won his first grand slam match with relative ease in a 6-1 6-4 6-2 victory over Andrey Golubev.
Elsewhere, top seeds Tomas Berdych, Andy Roddick and Fernando Verdasco cruised through to the next round.
Andy Murray and Nadal both begin their quests for the title on Tuesday, with Murray set to take on Karol Beck at around 5am UK time.