AUSTRALIAN OPEN 2014
Federer Sets Slam Streak; Tsonga Cruises
by ATP Staff|
Roger Federer stepped onto Rod Laver Arena for the start of his record 57th straight Grand Slam tournament Tuesday afternoon, and dismissed 21-year-old Australian wild card James Duckworth 6-4, 6-4, 6-2.
With coach Stefan Edberg watching from his box, the 32-year-old Swiss created 17 break point chances and capitalised four times to close out the win in one hour and 46 minutes.
"It was not much rhythm out there," said Federer. "It was a matter of getting the job done and not getting broken. So it was a solid match from start to finish. Could have maybe won a few more break points here and there, but who cares now?"
Federer, who is chasing his fifth Australian Open title, hasn't missed a Grand Slam tournament since the 1999 US Open. He surpassed the mark previously held by South African Wayne Ferreira, who appeared in 56 straight majors from the 1992 through 2003 Australian Opens.
"Clearly that's a record in a way I guess I'm proud of in some ways, because there's no shortcuts in Grand Slams because of the best of five set situation," he said. "Two weeks and it's spread out throughout the year, so you have to stay injury free and be healthy. I showed that for 13 years."
Federer next plays Slovenian Blaz Kavcic, who advanced when Radek Stepanek retired in the fourth set of their first-round match. Stepanek had had won the first two sets, but only won one of the last nine games.
World No. 10 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who lost to Federer in five sets in last year’s quarter-finals, advanced with a 7-5, 6-3, 6-3 win over Italian Filippo Volandri. The 2008 Australian Open finalist, recorded his 25th match win at Melbourne Park as he fired 15 aces and broke Volandri five times.
Tsonga will take a 2-0 FedEx Head2Head record into his next match against Thomaz Bellucci. The Brazilian had led 4-6, 6-3, 7-6(5) when German Julien Reister retired.
Two of the ATP’s young guns, Milos Raonic and Grigor Dimitrov, both notched four-set wins earlier in the day. The 11th-seeded Raonic lost serve three times, but still defeated Spaniard Daniel Gimeno-Traver 7-6(2), 6-1, 4-6, 6-2.
"I don't think really the heat was as much of an issue as struggling with my serve," said the Canadian. "The movement of the wind was sort of gusting all around. It's a rare situation for me to be struggling to get back after losing my serve pretty handily twice (in the first set). I was disappointed with that, but I just kept plugging away. I think I'm doing a lot of stuff better this time around, like returning, so I gave myself a lot of opportunities that way."
Dimitrov, the No. 22 seed, rallied from a set down to beat American Bradley Klahn 6-7(7), 6-4, 6-4, 6-3. The Bulgarian goes on to face Chinese Taipei’s Yen-Hsun Lu, who defeated countryman Jimmy Wang 6-3, 6-2, 6-1. The 30-year-old Lu reached his first ATP World Tour final last week in Auckland with an upset win over World No. 3 David Ferrer.