Federer starts Rogers Cup campaign off with victory

LANCE HORNBY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 3:02 PM ET

Roger, we have liftoff at the Rogers Cup.

Just after 9 p.m. local time Tuesday at the Rexall Tennis Centre, Roger Federer’s re-boot from crashing during the quarterfinals at Wimbledon began with a 7-6 (9-7), 6-3 win over unseeded Juan Ignacio Chela.

Federer, seeded third here and an unfamiliar third in the world rankings behind Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic, has battled aches and pains and a few internal doubts in six weeks of downtime following his loss to Tomas Berdych. But the 29-year-old Swiss star found the perfect foil in the multifaceted Chela to begin snapping out of the doldrums, with just one tournament win since August of 2009.

“It was important today to mix it up,” Federer said. “I did some good things out there. It’s normal you’re rusty after six weeks and have to work your way into playing matches again. But (practising) is not the same without a crowd.”

Federer’s much anticipated first set alternated between brilliance and brutal, with one game marred by three unforced errors that kept the plucky Argentine alive. That almost came back to haunt Federer when the set went to a thrilling tie-breaker. Up 6-3, and with the crowd of 11,800 solidly in his corner, Federer again had some difficulty before finally taking the set.

“It was a bit of a pity that I had a letdown up 5-2 in the first set when I had things going my way,” he said, “but he played well to get back in.”

Federer aced his first serve of the night and in some games, he made quick work of Chela, while using his drop shot with lethal results. But he could also be seen berating himself, with plenty of TV cuts to new American ‘trial’ coach Paul Annacone watching from the stands.

Canadian wildcard Peter Polansky, who won his opening match against 13th seed Jurgen Melzer plays today against Victor Hanescu of Romania.

The chances of a second Canadian wildcard getting through ended late in the evening when Niagara Falls’ Frank Dancevic fell 6-1, 6-4 to Swiss Stanislas Wawrinka. The latter broke Dancevic’s service at 4-4 of the final set and went on to complete the win. Dancevic was ranked 417th among ATP players to Wawrinka’s 26th.

lance.hornby@sunmedia.ca


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