Sunday, February 25, 2024

Federer returns to form

World number two Roger Federer made a winning return to the Kooyong Classic on Wednesday with an easy 6-2, 6-3 victory over Spain’s Carlos Moya.
Federer, a perennial visitor to the suburban Melbourne club that hosts the eight-man invitational tournament, was a late withdrawal from the event last year with glandular fever.
The 13-times grand slam winner uses the tournament to fine-tune his Australian Open preparations and, despite the encounter lasting just 57 minutes, he said the match had been beneficial for his Melbourne Park campaign.
“I’m getting used to the conditions here and the way the ball flies — much more than it did in the past few weeks,” Federer told reporters. “I’m trying a few things here and there (and) taking a few chances.
“Its more about getting used to the conditions and getting my footwork right, getting used to the bounce and seeing how high it is and the way (the ball) spins and reacts to the court.
“There was a bit of rust in the beginning and I missed a few forehands (but) I thought it was good match overall.” Federer will meet next meet Fernando Verdasco in the progression-relegation tournament after the Spaniard beat Croatia’s Marin Cilic 6-2, 7-5.
Federer’s Beijing Olympics gold-medal winning doubles partner Stanislas Wawrinka had earlier wasted little time in beating Cypriot Marcos Baghdatis 6-2, 6-2.
Baghdatis, who complained of a thigh injury last week in Brisbane but said he was feeling fine ahead of Kooyong, appeared sluggish throughout the match.
Wawrinka, who cracked the world top-10 last year, broke the 2006 Australian Open finalist twice in each set after the Cypriot’s service game fell apart.
Baghdatis was successful with just 33 percent of his first serves, produced four double faults and made 16 unforced errors to Wawrinka’s 11.
“I think Marcos was not playing very good. He is looking for his confidence, so maybe that it was it was so easy and fast,” Wawrinka said of the victory.
“It was a little bit difficult with all the wind, but I’m playing very good and I think for the first match it was very good.”
Wawrinka will meet the winner of Wednesday’s final match between Croatia’s Ivan Ljubicic and Chile’s Fernando Gonzalez.

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