Roger Federer hurdles first-round rival at Swiss Indoors
Basel, Switzerland (4E Sports) – World No. 1 Roger Federer opened his quest for a sixth title at his hometown tournament with a 7-5, 6-3 victory over German qualifier Benjamin Becker Monday in the first round of the Swiss Indoors Basel.
The 31-year-old Federer broke No. 83-ranked Becker thrice to claim the win in 88 minutes. Federer won the event in 2006 to 2008 and 2010 to 2011 and was runner-up in 2000-01 and 2009.
The tournament is a must-win for Federer as he needs crucial points to tighten his grip on the No. 1 ranking at the end of the year. The Swiss superstar has 12,165 points while closest pursuer Novak Djokovic has 11,970.
In other games, third seed Frenchman Richard Gasquet rallied past Dutchman Robin Haase, 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, in his first-round match.
Polish qualifier Lukasz Kubot broke serve four times to defeat Slovakia’s Lukas Lacko, 6-4, 6-4, in 83 minutes while France’s Julien Benneteau fired 12 aces to beat Russian qualifier Andrey Kuznetsov, 4-6, 6-3, 6-3, in one hour and 44 minutes.
At the Valencia Open 500, former world No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt converted five of 12 break point opportunities to defeat fourth seed Juan Monaco, 6-3, 6-4 Monday in the first round.
The loss dealt a serious blow to Monaco’s bid to qualify for the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals where the top eight players at season’s end will see action. The 28-year-old Monaco started the week in 12th place, 970 points behind eighth-placed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.
“Monaco is a good player. The second set was tough,” said Hewitt, who will face Croatian qualifier Ivan Dodig.
Dodig fired 11 aces and saved all six break points he faced to beat Germany’s Philipp Kohlschreiber, 6-2, 7-6(6), in one hour and 50 minutes.
Fifth seed John Isner edged Italy’s Fabio Fognini, 6-3, 6-7(4), 7-5, while 2004 champion Fernando Verdasco defeated wild card Tommy Robredo, 6-3, 6-4.
Belgium’s David Goffin capitalized on eight of his 11 break point chances to dismiss Pablo Andujar of Spain 6-2, 6-2 in 71 minutes.