Swiss Indoors: Roger Federer routs Mikhail Kukushkin in opener | tennis | Hindustan Times
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Swiss Indoors: Roger Federer routs Mikhail Kukushkin in opener

Roger Federer made a winning start in his quest for a seventh title at the Swiss Indoors in Basel on Tuesday, delivering a crushing 6-1, 6-2 lesson to Kazakhstan’s Mikhail Kukushkin.

tennis Updated: Oct 28, 2015 09:57 IST
Mikhail Kukushkin returns serve to Roger Federer during their match at the Swiss Indoors in Basel, Switzerland, on October 27, 2015.
Mikhail Kukushkin returns serve to Roger Federer during their match at the Swiss Indoors in Basel, Switzerland, on October 27, 2015.(AP Photo)

Roger Federer made a winning start in his quest for a seventh title at the Swiss Indoors in Basel on Tuesday, with the top seed delivering a crushing 6-1, 6-2 lesson to Kazakhstan’s Mikhail Kukushkin.

Federer set up a second-round contest with a good friend he has beaten in all ten of their matches as he plays German Philipp Kohlschreiber, who started with a 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 defeat of Poland’s Jerzy Janowicz. 2014 finalist David Goffin of Belgium, hammered by Federer in less than an hour a year ago in the title match, won his opening encounter as he beat Italian Andreas Seppi 3-6, 6-4, 6-4.

Frenchman Richard Gasquet, seeded fifth, kept his slender hopes of a year-end spot in London alive as he beat Jiri Vesely 6-3, 6-7 (2), 6-4. Gasquet will have to win titles at both Basel and Paris Bercy next week to have a chance of making the eight-player field, according to ATP calculations.

American sixth seed John Isner needed 64 minutes to put out Ernests Gulbis, sending down 16 aces in a 6-3, 6-4 win. Grigor Dimitrov began erasing a run of recent poor form as the Bulgarian beat Ukraine’s Sergiy Stakhovsky 6-3, 6-4.

Federer’s demolition in front of an appreciative home public at the event where the 17-time Grand Slam winner got his start in the game as a ballboy took only 54 minutes. “What I did was good, maybe I could have been a bit more efficient on break point chances and tried a few different things that didn’t match up that well with what he was doing,” said the Swiss world number three.

“But I moved well, served well and got off to a good start. That was the goal. Once in the lead I was able to stretch that and keep the pressure on him.”

Federer said that the victory was just the tonic he needed in the wake of an opening round loss a fortnight ago in Shanghai, where he was defending that Masters 1000 title. “I’m very pleased for a first round win, especially after Shanghai. To come out and play positive tennis was good fun today.”

The top-seeded Swiss is seeking his 10th straight finals appearance at Basel. He last beat Kukushkin in the Davis Cup quarter-finals in Geneva a year ago. “I was seeing the ball as big as a melon,” said the 34-year-old, who has five titles this season. “I’m very happy with this performance, especially to advance so well here at home.

“This was a very good start for me, an enjoyable match.”

Federer said he cannot take upcoming opponent Kohlschreiber for granted despite his 100 percent record. “The next match will be a bigger challenge and a different challenge against Kohlschreiber. He’s got different weapons than Kukushkin.

“If you have beaten someone 10 times there is the possibility that the next time you could have a loss. But having that kind of a record is always good for confidence.”