Cool Federer sweeps into Open round two

Switzerland’s Roger Federer reacts after winning the match against Uzbekistan’s Denis Istomin during the first round of Australian Open at the Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne January 14, 2019. — Reuters pic
Switzerland’s Roger Federer reacts after winning the match against Uzbekistan’s Denis Istomin during the first round of Australian Open at the Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne January 14, 2019. — Reuters pic

MELBOURNE, Jan 14 — Ageless Roger Federer warmed up for a run at a record seventh Australian Open title today by breezing past Uzbek Denis Istomin to book a spot in the second round.

The 37-year-old Swiss master made light of his assignment on Rod Laver Arena, wrapping up the match 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 as he confidently began his title defence.

Federer has won the last two tournaments at Melbourne Park in a late career resurgence and is now angling for a 21st major victory.

His achievements so far put him on a par with other six-time winners Novak Djokovic and Roy Emerson — although the Australian great’s victories all came before the Open era.

“It’s disbelief really that I’m the double defending champion at my age,” he said, adding that it was a “fairytale challenge” to be going for another one. 

“I’m going to try everything possible (to win again) and leave it all on the court. I will give it everything I’ve got.”

Federer came into the tournament in a buoyant mood after teaming with fellow Swiss Belinda Bencic to win a second successive mixed teams Hopman Cup title in Perth this month.

Istomin caused a massive upset in Melbourne two years ago when he knocked out defending champion Novak Djokovic in the second round, but was no match for the Swiss great.

The writing was on the wall with Federer winning all six of their previous meetings.

“It was great to be back here, I was brought some good energy and played some good shots,” said third seed Federer.

The world number three next plays Britain’s Daniel Evans, who battled past Japan’s Tatsuma Ito in three sets. — AFP