|Business as usual for Federer
Roger Federer showed few signs of rustiness in his first match of the year in marching to a consummate straight-sets win at the Australian Open today.
The record 17-time Grand Slam champion, who went into the year’s first major without a lead-up tournament, demolished nonplussed Frenchman Benoit Paire 6-2, 6-4, 6-1 in 1 hour 23 minutes.
Federer, 31, gave Paire little respite with six service breaks, while his own serve was rock-solid with no breaks conceded. There was little the 46th-ranked Paire could do to stop the flow of winners off the racquet of Federer, who made a smooth start to his quest for a fifth Australian Open crown.
“I do have some options in my game and I used them well today,’’ Federer said.
“I kept coming in at him as well to shorten the rallies and make him feel the pressure. I guess that was the good play today against him.’’
Federer is bidding to become only the second man after Australia's Roy Emerson to win five Australian Open titles since his first Melbourne triumph in 2004. Emerson won six Australian titles from 1961-1967.
The Swiss second seed dominated the points won 95-63 and was on song with his serve, winning 84 percent of the first service points.
Federer is playing in his 53rd straight Grand Slam event. He could return to the top ranking if he wins this year's Australian title and incumbent Novak Djokovic loses before the semi-finals.
Federer broke Paire's serve twice in the opening set, and with a rapier backhand winner in the third game of the following set, and three more times in the final set.