Federer cruises after rusty start in Rotterdam
Defending champion Roger Federer cruised into the second round of the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament by beating Grega Zemlja 6-3, 6-1.
Federer, a two-time winner at the indoor hard court tournament, had taken a two-week break after losing a grueling five-set semi-final to Andy Murray at the Australian Open and he showed signs of rustiness early against Zemlja.
The Slovenian dropped only one point on his first two service games and then forced two break points on Federer's serve in the fourth game.
But that was as good as it got for the No 64-ranked Zemlja. Federer switched up a gear, saved both break points and broke in the next game and again in the ninth game to take the opening set.
The second set was over even quicker, with Federer closing out the match in 58 minutes.
Federer conceded he took a while to get into his stride after his break and get used to the conditions at Ahoy arena.
"Hall play is different. It's warmer, so the ball flies more and it takes a bit of getting used to," he said. "The first ones are never easy. But I'm happy to be back and playing well."
Gilles Simon beat Italian qualifier Matteo Viola 6-3, 6-1 to secure a place in the quarterfinals, and fellow Frenchman Julien Benneteau joined him after a 6-1, 6-3 win over Victor Hanescu.
Marcos Baghdatis reached the second round when Benoit Paire of France retired while trailing 6-0, 6-7 (3), 4-0.
Another French player, fourth-seeded Richard Gasquet beat Viktor Troicki of Serbia 7-6 (3), 6-1 to reach the second round.