Roger Federer crushed Slovak Lukas Lacko 6-1, 6-1, 6-3 as the holder made a majestic start to his Australian Open title defence on Monday.
The Swiss world number two was ruthless against the 97th-ranked outsider, ripping through the opening set in 22 minutes and stealing a 3-0 lead with ease in the second and blasting home as he begins the quest for a fifth Melbourne trophy after winning his fourth in 2010.
But the Swiss needed a slight refinement of strategy to insure victory against his eager opponent.
“I thought I played great,” said the 16-time Grand Slam champion. “I tried to play offensive from the start and see where it takes me. “It didn’t work,” said Federer, broken in the second set but quickly getting it back. “So I got back and played a bit more risky and so forth. I was able to keep on pressing, put him on the back foot. “It was no surprise he started to get into the match at one stage. I thought it was a good match. I don’t think he played too bad himself. I was really happy I chose tactics early on to pressure him. They worked great. At the end, I was happy.”
Monfils survives scare
Frenchman Gael Monfils made a recovery from two sets to love down, overhauling Thiemo de Bakker of the Netherlands 6-7 (5-7), 2-6, 7-5, 6-1, 6-1 while American 16th seed Mardy Fish duplicated that feat with his comeback over Romanian Victor Hanescu 2-6, 4-6, 6-3, 7-5, 6-3.
Number one Caroline Wozniacki led women’s seeds through, with the top-seed beating Gisela Dulko of Argentina 6-3, 6-4. “It’s the first round, it’s always tough,” said the Dane. “I’m really happy to be through, I’m feeling good.” The winner benefited from 38 unforced errors from her South American opponent ranked 48th who has now lost three of their four meetings.
French Open winner Francesca Schiavone, seeded sixth, struggled past Arantxa Parra Santonja of Spain 6-7 (4-7), 6-2, 6-4; China’s ninth seed Li Na put out Swede Sofia Arvidsson 6-1, 7-5.
Keywords: Australian Open