Roger Federer began his bid for a sixth title at the ATP Swiss Indoors tournament by beating substitute opponent Benjamin Becker 7-5, 6-3 on Monday to reach the second round.
The German ranked 83rd with one career title had replaced injured Frenchman Jeremy Chardy as the first opponent for the Swiss home hero and world No. 1.
Federer, who has won five of the last six editions at the St. Jakobshalle where he got his start in tennis as a ballboy at the tournament almost two decades ago, needed to work to get past the persistent Becker, whom he beat in their last two meetings, the last in 2010.
The winner advanced in just under 90 minutes after a first set which took an hour and fired 10 aces in victory.
But the Swiss didn’t have it all his own way, missing on six break points in the opening set and going down a break in the second before finally settling in, taking charge and running out the winner.
Federer is making his 13th appearance in his hometown tournament and now stands 44-7 at the event. Besides his five titles he also played finals in 2000-01 and 2009.
The results: At Basel: ATP Swiss Indoors: First round: Mikhail Youzhny bt Bernard Tomic 6-0, 6-2; Matthew Ebden bt Victor Hanescu 6-3, 7-6(3); Richard Gasquet bt Robin Haase 4-6, 6-3, 6-2.
Roger Federer bt Benjamin Becker 7-5, 6-3; Julien Benneteau bt Andrey Kuznetsov 4-6, 6-3, 6-3; Lukasz Kubot bt Lukas Lacko 6-4, 6-4.
At Valencia: ATP Valencia Open: First round: Sam Querrey bt Feliciano Lopez 6-3, 7-6(4); Oleksandr Dolgopolov Jr. bt Filippo Volandri 6-3, 7-6(5); Albert Ramos bt Rajeev Ram 6-3, 6-3.
John Isner bt Fabio Fognini 6-3, 6-7(4), 7-5; Ivan Dodig bt Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-2, 7-6(6); Fernando Verdasco bt Tommy Robredo 6-3, 6-4; Lleyton Hewitt bt Juan Monaco 6-3, 6-4; David Goffin bt Pablo Andujar 6-2, 6-2.
Keywords: ATP Swiss Indoors tournament