MASON — World tennis number three Roger Federer cast aside bad memories to defeat Argentina’s Juan Martin Del Potro 6-3, 7-5 at the Cincinnati Open Tuesday.
Del Potro had upset Federer in the 2009 US Open final before injuries set back his career, but the Swiss looked at his comfortable best in the first set.
It was a much closer encounter in the second set which was played to serve until the Swiss broke to go 6—5 up.
Federer had missed out on six break points prior to winning that game. He then held serve to go through to face American James Blake.
“I expected a tough match with Juan Martin for obvious reasons, and it went better than I thought,” said a relaxed Federer. “I thought I played a wonderful first set and a very good second set, too. That was obviously enough tonight.
“I don’t think I really allowed Juan Martin to be able to play the game he usually plays.
“It’s quick conditions, so you’re never going to maybe find the rhythm like you would on a slower court.
“But I was able to mix it up well, I served well, and did all the right things tonight.”
Del Potro’s chances of repeating his success of 2009 in New York this year look slim, but he was pleased that his many physical problems, including a bad wrist injury, seem to be behind him.
“I’m much better than I expected to be at this stage. I don’t have any pain, no dangerous pain. My wrist is OK and I can play on every surface,” said the Argentine.
“It is not easy for me, but I’m close to what is my favourite tournament and I will be ready for a fight in New York.”
France’s Jo-Wilfried Tsonga looked back to full fitness while Czechs Tomas Berdych and Radek Stepanek came through their first tests.
Wimbledon semi-finalist Tsonga defeated Croat Marin Cilic 6-3, 6-4 in the opening round, dropping just six points on serve and hitting nine aces. —Reuters