Federer stumbles before shining against Andreev
Originally published on: 26/02/10 11:53
It would have been the biggest lovers’ coup since Bonnie and Clyde, but despite taking the first set and missing out on three set points in the third, Igor Andreev couldn’t follow girlfriend Maria Kirilenko’s lead as he fell to Roger Federer in four sets.
The three-time champion played well but was guilty of a few lapses in concentration and often paid the price for some odd shot selections before hitting his groove to post a 4-6 6-2 7-6(2) 6-0 win.
Federer admitted his relief in seeing off a tricky opponent.
“I knew it was going to be tough,” he said. “We played five sets in New York two years back and that was extremely tough. I really had to adjust my game to beat him. I was serve-volleying a lot back then.
“Today I didn’t do that but I thought I was playing well, even in the first set when I lost. I just hoped that I could hang in there, hoped he would tire and then miss a few shots like he did at the end.
“I think he is a wonderful player. That was a tough first round and I am really, really relieved that I am through.”
After breaking first in the opening set, the world No.1 saw his lead disappear as Andreev found some joy against the Swiss’ serve, breaking twice to grab the first set.
Federer responded with a double break of his own in the second set to level things up, but a string of breaks for both men in the third set left the match in the balance.
Andreev was left rueing a sitter that would have put him a break up at 4-3 in the third after Federer played a poor drop shot, but the Russian’s resolve had not deserted him yet.
A break in game 11 left him serving for the set, but top seed Federer defended three set points before breaking back to force a tie-break.
His chance passed, Andreev folded. The Russian didn’t win another game as Federer blew him away in the fourth.
“It was a fortunate third set but that’s the way it goes sometimes,” added Federer. “I prefer easier matches, but this worked.”
Elsewhere in Federer’s half, Robin Soderling became the highest-ranked seed to fall in the men’s draw after a 5-7 2-6 6-4 6-4 6-2 defeat to Marcel Granollers.
The Swede, No.8 seed in Melbourne and coming off a breakthrough season in 2009, was not the only seed to fall on day two of the tournament.
Sam Querrey’s wretched luck since his return from injury continues after another first-round defeat since the turn of the year.
The American No.25 seed, who required surgery to a lacerated wrist after falling through a glass table last October, went down 6-3 2-6 6-4 6-3 to former finalist Rainer Schuettler.
No.28 seed Jurgen Melzer also fell at the first, beaten 6-1 6-7(3) 6-4 4-6 6-3 by Florent Serra.
David Ferrer had no such problems, leading 6-0 6-0 2-0 before Frederico Gil called it a day against the No.17 seed with an injury.
Less emphatic – but not by much – was Nikolay Davydenko’s 6-1 6-0 6-3 victory over Dieter Kindlmann, who issued a warning to his rivals that Grand Slam glory was back on his agenda.
“Now I feel I can beat anybody,” said the Russian, who appears to have secured a new sponsorship deal with Prince ahead of the Slam.
Gael Monfils, Fernando Verdasco and Marin Cilic all registered opening wins, but there was a shock defeat for Tommy Robredo.
The No.16 seed was simply blown away 6-4 6-2 6-2 by Colombian Santiago Giraldo.
Monfils motored past Australian Matthew Ebden 6-4 6-4 6-4, while last year’s semi-finalist Verdasco was forced to grind out a 6-7(4) 7-6(1) 7-5 6-2 win against Carsten Ball.
Cilic, the No.14, ensured Fabrice Santoro’s record 18th Australian Open ended in straight sets. The Croatian came out on top 7-5 7-5 6-3 as the veteran Frenchman sealed his place in the hiistory books as the only man to play a Grand Slam in four different decades.