Roger Federer has boosted his chances of being fit for the French tennis Open by coming through his first match at the Rome Masters unscathed.

The 17 times Grand Slam champion has been struggling with a back problem and only decided to play his match against German teenager Alexander Zverev after the warm up.

Federer has won through to the third round in straight sets and says it's increased his confidence of playing in Paris.

He says it was a calculated risk and it's a big day and a huge step in the right direction.

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Women's second seed Australian Open champion Angelique Kerber has been the major casualty in Rome losing to Eugenie Bouchard in three sets.