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Fedex begins title defence with big win

Roger Federer began the defence of his Rotterdam World Tennis title by crushing Slovenia’s Grega Zemlja 6-3, 6-1 in just 57 minutes on Wednesday.

Federer advanced effortlessly into the second round over last autumn’s Vienna finalist and next faces Dutchman Thiemo de Bakker.

The Swiss top seed, and world number two, improved to 22-5 in Rotterdam as he plays the event for the eighth time, never losing before the quarterfinals.

Zemlja slipped to 1-9 against top 10 opposition after beating number nine Janko Tipsarevic in the Vienna semi-finals before losing to Juan Martin del Potro.

Federer raced through the opening set in 29 minutes with a break in the final game and rolled on in the second, taking a 3-1 led before closing out with a break in the penultimate game and a love game to finish with a service winner.

‘I’ve been here and preparing for a few days, but matches are always different than training,’ said Federer. ‘The ball flies a bit and you have to be prepared.

‘I’ll have to be careful against De Bakker. I played him in the Davis Cup (2012). The local players always get up for home matches. I’ll have to approach him carefully and not underestimate him.’ French seeds moved smoothly on with number four Richard Gasquet picking up where he left off after winning the Montpellier title at the weekend.

The world number 10 cited the tiebreaker as crucial in a 7-6 (7/3), 6-1 defeat of Serb Victor Troicki to reach the second round.

‘Winning the breaker was the key to the match,’ said Gasquet. ‘I played well and was then more confident’
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