MELBOURNE. — Roger Federer swatted aside Steve Johnson to race into the Australian Open tennis tournament second round yesterday as he kickstarted his bid for a 21st Grand Slam title in immaculate style.
The ageless Swiss great (38) said ahead of the tournament that he had low expectations at the year’s opening Grand Slam after missing the warm-up ATP Cup to spend more time with his family.
It left him short of match practice, but it didn’t show on Rod Laver Arena against the American in his 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 demolition.
“I felt really good. I trained really hard, like I always do, and happy I did not have any (injury) setbacks (in the off-season),” said Federer.
“I am happy, I played well in practice and happy it showed on the court as well.”
The crowd favourite knew he needed to get out of the blocks fast against the world number 75 and that’s what he did, racing to a 4-1 lead in the opening set before a 10-minute interruption for the roof to be shut due to rain.
Federer returned and wrapped up the set in just 27 minutes. Johnson, known for his big forehand and slice backhand, again gave away service breaks early in the next two sets and there was no way back against a man who delivered some jaw-dropping returns and forehands. — AFP.