Aus Open: Federer, Mauresmo advance

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> Roger Federer won his opening match at the Australian Open by beating Bjorn Phau 7-5, 6-0, 6-4.

Updated: March 22, 2007 06:37 IST
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Roger Federer made it look difficult for a change, starting his bid for a 10th Grand Slam and an Australian Open title defense by dropping serve three times in the first set. With Bjorn Phau leading 5-3 on Monday, the top-ranked Federer moved up a gear. He went on a nine-game streak, conceding only six points in the second set, and won his opening match 7-5, 6-0, 6-4 over the 27-year-old German player who had beaten him in their only previous match seven years ago. "I got broken in the first set three times, and that makes you a little bit nervous," said Federer, who went 92-5 with 12 titles last season and has held the top ranking since February 2004. "You try to stay cool, but I got a little bit nervous." Shaky start Federer made 14 of his total 29 unforced errors in the first eight games. Otherwise, he said, "It felt great to be back." Federer changed his preparation schedule this year, skipping his regular season opener and playing three matches in an exhibition tournament at Kooyong, where he lost the final Saturday to Andy Roddick. He said it would take a little time to get his best rhythm back, and was happy to even the score with Phau, who had beaten him in 1999 at Washington but has never been ranked in the top 50. Roddick overcame a shaky start against French wild-card Jo-Wilfred Tsonga, wasting four set points in the marathon opening tiebreaker and rallying from 2-5 in the second set to win 6-7 (18), 7-6 (2), 6-3, 6-3. The 2003 US Open champion was constantly critical of chair umpire Carlos Ramos, calling the Portuguese official a "glorified scorekeeper" after a call that gave Tsonga a set point at 11-10 in the first tiebreaker. Roddick thought one of Tsonga's balls was 3 inches over the baseline. Video replays are in use on Rod Laver Arena, the center court at Melbourne Park, for the first time at the Australian Open, but not on any other courts. The sixth-seeded Roddick was playing on the second showcourt, so he could not ask for a replay. "I think I got a little first-round jitters," Roddick said. "I played better as the match went on. I hope I can get better in the second round." The American star said at times he was scared in the first set against the 21-year-old Tsonga, who was playing only his sixth match in a top level ATP event. "Absolutely, to say the least. I was wondering if we were ever going to finish the tiebreaker." Mauresmo beats Perry Women's champion Amelie Mauresmo was first up on Rod Laver Arena and started her title defense with a 6-3, 6-4 victory over Shenay Perry. Apart from dropping serve in the third game and again when serving for the match at 5-2, the second-seeded Mauresmo was in control as she returned to the scene of her biggest breakthrough victory. Mauresmo beat Justine Henin-Hardenne in the final last year to claim her first Grand Slam title, seven years after losing in her only other trip to the final of a major. Mauresmo also won the Wimbledon title last summer and spent most of the season at No 1 Mauresmo said she felt under no extra pressure as defending champion. "It was good. I felt pretty happy to go on the court and to play first and to be able to, right from the first day, go on court and defend a title," Mauresmo said. Perry, a 22-year-old American who finished 2006 at No 43 in the rankings, let Mauresmo off the hook with 21 unforced errors. Serving for the match a second time, Mauresmo held at love, closing with a powerful forehand cross. Seventh-seeded Elena Dementieva of Russia advanced 6-1, 6-2 over Stephanie Foretz of France. Also advancing were No. 16 Shahar Peer, No 20 Tatiana Golovin and No 26 Maria Kirilenko. On the men's side, Mario Ancic and Richard Gasquet were among the other men's seeded players advancing. No 18 Gasquet, the 2002 world junior champion, won his first match in four trips to the Australian Open, advancing 6-4, 6-4, 6-2 over Italian Filippo Volandri. Ninth-seeded Ancic beat Japan's Go Soeda 6-4, 6-3, 6-2. Spaniards Juan Carlos Ferrero and Guillermo Garcia-Lopez progressed to the second round after playing five games between them. Former top-ranked Ferrero, the 2003 French Open champion, was leading Jan Hajek 3-0 when the Czech player retired because of stomach illness. Garcia-Lopez was 1-1 with Joachim Johansson when the 6-foot-6 Swede pulled out because of severe blisters on his feet.

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