Unruffled Roger Federer was quietly relieved after holding off Frenchman Gilles Simon in five sets to avoid his earliest-ever loss at the Australian Open.

It took Federer a comeback in the fifth to insure the nail-biting victory, leaving the Swiss still relaxed as his bid for a fifth Melbourne title remains on track.

“An early loss in a Slam, obviously hurts, they do happen,” said the world number two. “I’m happy I survived a scare like today. It’s not the first time. I’ve had (Tomas) Berdych here before; I’ve had (Janko) Tipsarevic before; (Alejandro) Falla in Wimbledon.

“You just try to stay calm: I’m not playing for much, he’s playing for the huge upset, and I’m just trying to get through. “I handled it well tonight, and I’m very happy that things turned out so nicely at the end,” he said after getting past Simon, who had won their previous two matches.

Keywords: Australian Open

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