Federer sweeps past Andreev

2010-01-19 09:16

Melbourne - Swiss world number one Roger Federer swept home after a sluggish start to eliminate Russian Igor Andreev in four sets in his opening match at the Australian Open on Tuesday.

Federer, chasing his 16th Grand Slam title, dropped the opening set, but rattled home against the 37th-ranked Andreev, winning, 4-6, 6-2, 7-6 (7/2), 6-0 in two hours 44 minutes on Rod Laver Arena.

It set him up with a second round encounter against either Argentina's Juan Ignacio Chela or Romania's Victor Hanescu.

Although he stormed through the final set to love with three service breaks, it looked early on as though the Swiss legend was facing a tough tussle against the man who took him to five sets in the fourth round at the 2008 US Open.

It needed Federer to win 6-3 in the fifth set back then to see off Andreev, but once he got over dropping the first set here he charged home.

Federer broke Andreev's serve nine times, but perhaps of concern to him will have been his own serve broken five times.

Federer, who is bidding to win his fourth Australian titles, has never lost in the first round of the year's opening Grand Slam in 11 attempts.

It was his first match since going down in straight sets to Russian Nikolay Davydenko in the semi-finals at Doha earlier this month on his way to Australia.

His latest victory took Federer's Australian Open record to 48-7 as he competes in his 41st consecutive Grand Slam tournament.

If all goes to lan, Federer is projected to face Davydenko, who has won their last two meetings, in the quarter-finals.

Federer has missed playing in only one of the last 18 Grand Slam finals and bookmakers have again installed him the favourite to capture his 16th Grand Slam.

Last year, he finally broke through at Roland Garros, clinching the French Open at his 11th attempt and followed up with a sixth Wimbledon crown in seven years.

He became the all-time Grand Slam leader in men's tennis in the process, passing the 14 won by American Pete Sampras, while retrieving the number one ranking off Rafael Nadal after a period of 46 weeks.