MADRID: Roger Federer showed little sign of rustiness on his return to action after a two-month break as he cruised past Radek Stepanek 6-3, 6-3 to progress into the third round of the Madrid Open.
The world number two had suffered from a back injury in his last outing at Indian Wells at the beginning of March, but he looked comfortable on his first appearance on the clay in 2013 against the world number 48.
The 17-time Grand Slam winner got off to the perfect start as he broke in the third game before holding serve to take the first set 6-3.
And Federer broke Stepanek again early in the second set to move ahead 3-1 before breaking once more to serve for the match at 5-2.
However, he was then broken himself for the first time in the match as Stepanek finally took a break point opportunity at the eighth time of asking. That only delayed the inevitable though as Federer broke again in the very next game to seal the win.
Next up the three-time champion in Madrid will face either 14th seed Kei Nishikori or Victor Troicki tomorrow.
Serena makes serene progress
In the women’s event, world number one and defending champion Serena Williams continued her serene progress when she eased past Spanish wild card Lourdes Dominguez Lino 6-2 7-5 in the second round yesterday.
Chasing a fourth title of the year and the 50th of her career, Williams had too much power for the slightly-built Dominguez Lino, who nonetheless managed to unsettle her illustrious opponent with some clever drop shots and lobs.
Williams, 31, said she had enjoyed the test and the experience would stand her in good stead the next time she came up against a player like the 47th-ranked Spaniard, who likes to mix up her shots.
“I made a lot of errors, but her game kind of forces you to make errors,” the American told a news conference. “It was a really good clay-court tennis match for me.
“Seeing as I have a few more tournaments on clay, it was perfect to play a match like this, so I know if I face another opponent like that I’ll have that experience and I’ll know how to play.”
A 15-times grand slam singles champion, Williams will play unseeded Frenchwoman Kristina Mladenovic or 13th-seeded Russian Maria Kirilenko for a place in the quarter-finals.
Russian second seed Maria Sharapova was due to play her second-round match against American qualifier later at night.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 7th, 2013.
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