Melbourne - Roger Federer raced to a consummate
straight-sets win at the Australian Open on Tuesday, showing few signs
of rustiness in his first match of the year.
The record 17-time
Grand Slam champion, who went into the year's first major without a
lead-up tournament, demolished Frenchman Benoit Paire 6-2, 6-4, 6-1 in
1hr 23min on Rod Laver Arena.
The 31-year-old Swiss maestro gave
Paire little respite with six service breaks, while his own serve was
rock-solid with no breaks conceded.
There was little the
46th-ranked Paire could do to stop the cascade of winners off the
racquet of Federer, who made a smooth start to his quest for a fifth
Australian Open crown.
Federer is bidding to become only the
second man after Australia's Roy Emerson to win five Australian Open
titles since his first Melbourne triumph in 2004.
He dominated the points won 95-63 and was on song with his serve, winning 84 percent of the first service points.
happy, he's a good player, good talent and I have not played a match
this season yet so I wasn't sure and that's why you're relieved when
you're through the first one," Federer said.
Federer is playing in
his 53rd straight Grand Slam event. He could return to the top ranking
if he wins this year's Australian title and incumbent Novak Djokovic
loses before the semi-finals.
Federer broke Paire's serve twice in
the opening set, and with a rapier backhand winner in the third game of
the following set, and three more times in the final set.
Swiss legend has now never lost in the first round in 14 appearances at
the Australian Open and has a 15-match winning streak against French