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Federer Edges Raonic In Final Set Tie-break

Madrid, Spain

Federer© AFP/Getty ImagesRoger Federer beat Milos Raonic for the second time this year.

World No. 3 Roger Federer was challenged in his first clay-court tournament match of the season Wednesday, rallying past Milos Raonic 4-6, 7-5, 7-6(4) in a second-round clash at the Mutua Madrid Open.

"I had a tough first set and one bad game that cost me the set really," said Federer. "He could swing big on my service games and I couldn't do that much on his but I was getting more balls back as the match went on. I played a good tie-breaker overall."

The Swiss saved seven of the eight break points he faced, and overcame 21 aces from Raonic’s racquet to survive the Canadian’s upset bid in two hours and 14 minutes. Federer improved to 2-0 against Raonic, having prevailed in three sets at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells.

"I felt like I was on top throughout the whole match," Raonic said. "I was there doing the right things and it was good. I will probably be more happy with the whole outcome in a few days but now is not the right time."

Federer, who captured the title three years ago when the tournament transitioned surfaces from hard to clay, is seeking his first clay-court title since completing a career Grand Slam at Roland Garros in 2009. The 30 year old is playing his first event since falling to Andy Roddick in the third round of the Sony Open Tennis in Miami.

"Right now, I'm just playing good tennis and it's a big win because wins like this can create great things," said Federer. "It was pretty much a big struggle for me tonight but the level is pretty good and I'm happy where I am in the season."

The 19-time ATP World Tour Masters 1000 champion will square off against 14th-seeded Richard Gasquet in the third round.

The Frenchman continued his good run of form as he ousted Viktor Troicki 7-5, 6-3. Gasquet is coming off a runner-up showing at the Estoril Open (l. to del Potro) last week and dropped just nine points on serve as he defeated Troicki in 86 minutes.

Seventh seed Janko Tipsarevic was tested in his opening match, requiring two hours and 35 minutes to get past qualifier Federico Delbonis 7-6(5), 6-7(6), 6-3. The Serbian won 16 of 17 first serve points in the final set.

Tipsarevic will face ninth seed Gilles Simon for a place in the quarter-finals, after the recent Bucharest titlist beat wild card Guillermo Garcia-Lopez, breaking the Spaniard three times to advance in one hour and 31 minutes.

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