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Federer through but Murray slips up in Japan

india Updated: Oct 04, 2006 20:57 IST
Highlight Story

World number one Roger Federer overcame stubborn Serb qualifier Viktor Troicki 7-6, 7-6 to reach the third round of the Japan Open on Wednesday.

British number one Andy Murray failed to follow suit, however, the 19-year-old Scot slumping to a 6-3 7-6 defeat by Czech Jiri Novak in his opening match in Tokyo.

Federer played well within himself in his first ever match in Japan but ripped through the first-set tiebreak for the loss of just two points against the hard-serving Troicki.

The Swiss failed to overpower his 276th-ranked opponent in the second set as well, until his superior class gave him the edge in another tiebreak.

A fabulous cross-court forehand gave Federer a 6-2 lead before the nine-times grand slam champion closed out proceedings with a fierce serve on his second match point.

"I made it hard on myself," Federer told reporters. "Thank God I have the ability to play well when I really need it. It was a tough match and I'm really happy I came through."

Federer improved his win-loss record for the year to 73-5 in setting up a third-round clash with defending Japan Open champion Wesley Moodie.

The South African beat Austria's Stefan Koubek 6-3 6-4 to earn a shot at Federer.

"It was my first match and I didn't want to take too many risks," Federer said. "I wanted to get a rhythm for myself."

MURRAY TRIPPED

Murray, who like Federer received a first-round bye, clawed his way back into the second set from 4-1 down but managed to win just one point in a one-sided tiebreak as Novak closed it out in style.

It was the 10th time this year Murray has tripped at the first hurdle and came on the heels of his first-round defeat by compatriot Tim Henman in Bangkok last week.

"Every single young player goes through a patch where he's not playing well," shrugged fourth seed Murray.

"You can't expect to get to the semi-finals every week -- unless you're Roger Federer or Rafael Nadal. I wasn't looking that far ahead."

Germany's Benjamin Becker, best known as the man who ushered Andre Agassi into retirement at last month's U.S. Open, will face Novak next after thrashing Thailand's Danai Udomchoke 6-2, 6-1.

Meanwhile, second seed Tommy Robredo overpowered Taiwanese qualifier Lu Yen-hsun 6-4, 6-1.

The Spaniard faces Vince Spadea next after the American's 2-6, 6-2, 6-0 victory over Japanese wildcard Satoshi Iwabuchi.

Croatian third seed Mario Ancic crushed Denmark's Kenneth Carlsen 6-1, 6-4 and will now takes on German Rainer Schuettler, who beat American Paul Goldstein 6-3, 6-2.

Finland's Jarkko Nieminen also advanced, the fifth seed beating German Lars Burgsmuller 7-5 7-6, while Asian number one Paradorn Srichaphan beat Japan's Takao Suzuki 6-7, 7-6, 6-4.

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