Tennis: Federer finds form following break

Roger Federer was happy with his return to action after a two-month break as he progressed into the third round of the Madrid Open with a 6-3 6-3 win over Radek Stepanek overnight.

The world No.2 had suffered from a back injury in his last outing at Indian Wells in early March but said he felt comfortable on his first appearance on clay in 2013 against the world No.48, who he had struggled with in the past.

"I didn't think I played incredible, but that's not what I was expecting myself to do here. I didn't play bad, either," he said in his post-match press conference.

"I'm very happy with how things went today. Stepanek is a player who can cause a lot of difficulties in the game.

"Today that wasn't the case. I thought I was pretty much in control. Even though the scoreline seems pretty simple, I did have to fight for it. That's a very good thing in a first round, I think, now that I've been able to win my first round here."

Federer got off to the perfect start as he broke in the third game before holding serve to take the first set 6-3. He broke Stepanek again early in the second set to move ahead 3-1 before breaking once more to serve for the match at 5-2.

The 17-time Grand Slam champion will next face either 14th seed Kei Nishikori or Victor Troicki on Thursday.

Earlier, Serbian world No.9 Janko Tipsarevic became the first seed in the men's event to fall on Tuesday morning as he was beaten by clay court specialist Juan Monaco 7-5 6-3.

And eighth seed Richard Gasquet also suffered an early exit as he was beaten 7-5 3-6 6-4 by Spaniard Daniel Gimeno-Traver.

World No.15 Stanislas Wawrinka however continued his fine form after winning the Portugal Open last week with a comfortable 6-4 6-4 win over Romanian qualifier Marius Copil.

In the women's event, world No.1 Serena Williams eased into the third round with a 6-2 7-5 win over Spain's Lourdes Dominguez Lino.

The American had struggled early on in her first-round match against Kazak qualifier Yulia Putintseva, but began much brighter as she broke Dominguez Lino straight away on her way to winning the first set 6-2.

And 14th seed Marion Bartoli overcame a twisted ankle during the second set of her match against Spaniard Maria-Teresa Torro-Flor to progress 6-4 2-6 6-4.

- AFP

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