Second seed and defending champion Roger Federer impressed once again at the Australian Open, with the Swiss comfortably seeing off Jan-Lennard Struff in the final second round match of the tournament.
Federer was rarely tested in his opening round match, and he was very comfortable in the opening two sets of this encounter as well. Struff provided more of a fight in the third set, leading by a break at one point, though the defending champion calmly fought back and sealed a 6-4, 6-4, 7-6(4) victory in an hour and 55 minutes
Federer continues quest for Grand Slam number 20 in confident style
There is little doubt that Federer, a five-time champion in Melbourne, was the big favorite heading into this year’s event, and another confident performance on Thursday will certainly keep him in that position heading into the rest of the tournament.
Federer was the sharpest of the two early on, quickly applying pressure in the German’s service games, and drew first blood, breaking Struff for a 3-2 lead in the opening set. After that slight wobble, the German held his own throughout the remainder of the set, though was unable to apply any pressure on the Swiss, who was able to seal the first set after just 32 minutes of action.
After losing the first set, Struff likely needed a strong start the second to have any chance of staying close to the defending champion, and the German got just that as he looked comfortable in his opening few service games. However, Federer had faced no pressure on his own serve and was able to break for the second time in the match. Struff managed to force the Swiss to serve for the set, though Federer calmly served it out to ease to a two set lead.
Despite two strong sets so far, Federer started making a few errors early on in the third and was made to pay, missing a chance to break before allowing Struff to break for the first time. On serve, the German had a point for a 4-1 lead, though failed to capitalize and Federer broke back immediately. Neither man was particularly tested after that, though after serving to stay in the set twice, the second seed took control of the tiebreak early and sealed the victory.
Though the third set proved to be fairly tricky, Federer has looked mostly comfortable in his opening two matches and looks more than set for another strong run at the tournament. He faces a seed for the first time next, 29th seed Richard Gasquet, though has lost just twice in 18 meetings against the Frenchman; he should safely reach the second week.