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Federer Made To Work Against Falla; Isner To Face Jaziri

London, England

Federer© AFP/Getty ImagesRoger Federer is competing at his fourth Olympic Games

Top-seeded Swiss Roger Federer opened his London Olympics campaign with a 6-3, 5-7, 6-3 victory over Alejandro Falla of Colombia on Saturday.

Federer was broken on two occasions, but managed to hit seven aces and 37 winners for victory in one hour and 47 minutes on Centre Court. Two years ago, at the All England Club, Federer beat Falla over five sets in the first round.

“I've struggled against Falla in the past at times,” said Federer, who squandered three match points in the second set.

“I was able to mix it up well and played well for the first set and a half, then all of a sudden I missed the match points, things got difficult and he played a great match to come back. I'm relieved of course. Falla is a great player, counter-punches well, plays really well and made things really difficult for me.”

“When I play for Switzerland I try to be a good ambassador as I travel around for eight months of the year. But it's different having the Swiss cross on your jersey and you do feel the pressure. It's not something that we're used to; everybody's talking about it on the street in Switzerland. It only comes every four years so it's unusual and I feel that too.”

World No. 1 Federer will next play Julien Benneteau, the Frenchman who took him to five sets in the Wimbledon third round last month. Benneteau, who beat Russian Mikhail Youzhny 7-5, 6-3, said, “I wanted to win because yesterday I marched in the Opening Ceremony. It was something I wanted to do. Then I took the bus over here.”

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Tenth-seeded American John Isner struck 24 aces past Olivier Rochus of Belgium in a 7-6(1), 6-4 win in 74 minutes. Isner won 42 of his 49 first service points.

“It’s very special; it’s such an honour to be here at the Olympics to represent our team and to represent our country. After the match, when I won, there was a nice ‘USA’ chant going on and it really kind of gives you chills.”

Rochus admitted, “I think [John] played really good in the tie-break. I couldn’t break him, he was just serving bombs all over the place.”

In the second round, Isner will challenge Tunisian Malek Jaziri, who overcame Yen-Hsun Lu of Chinese Taipei 7-6(10), 4-6, 6-3 in two hours and 15 minutes.

French No. 12 seed Gilles Simon won 92 per cent of his first service points to defeat Mikhail Kukushkin of Kazakhstan 6-4, 6-2 in 74 minutes. He will now play Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov, who committed 18 unforced errors in a 6-3, 7-6(4) win over Lukasz Kubot of Poland.

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