Roger Federer has advanced to the second round of the Australian Open beating unseeded Frenchman.
Despite the ease of the win, Federer was typically complimentary of his opponent in his post-match appraisal – and defended his decision to not play any warm-up tournaments. “Benoit’s a good player, a good talent,” he said. I haven’t played a match this season yet. You’re not sure (how you’re going to play) and that’s why you’re relieved when you get through the first one. “I’ve had a few busy years since I had kids. I just wanted to cool down a bit. It’s nice to enjoy the off season. I hope it’s the right decision, we’ll see how it goes. I’m confident in my play.”
Federer won the pair’s only previous encounter in straight sets. He will play the winner of qualifier Dudi Sela of Israel or Russia’s Nikolay Davydenko as he continues his quest for an 18th Grand Slam title. Sixth seed Juan Martin del Potro eased through 6-1 6-2 6-2 against Adrian Mannarino. The Argentine needed just 76 minutes to sweep aside the world number 170, sealing the first set in just 22 of those minutes without committing a single unforced error – and it did not get much better for Mannarino from there.
Del Potro, the only player outside the ‘big four’ of men’s tennis to have won a Grand Slam in the last eight years – the US Open in 2009 – remained circumspect about his chances of breaking back into the elite. “I played really well,” he said. “I remember last year when we played the first round also, and he had a better match than today. But I think I played really aggressive. I made a lot of winners with my forehand. I served well. I made very good start to this Open.”
Despite the absence of the injured world number four Rafael Nadal, Del Potro was not confident of emerging from a half of the draw which also includes Federer and the newest member of the Grand Slam winner’s club, Andy Murray – who also won on Tuesday.