Shannon Russell reports:
Roger Federer eased into the Western & Southern Open with his most dominant completed opening match in 12 tournament appearances.
The top-ranked Swiss player trounced Alex Bogomolov Jr. 6-3, 6-2 Wednesday night at the Lindner Family Tennis Center, eclipsing his previous best opener here – a 6-3, 6-3 defeat of Julien Benneteau in 2007.
Federer dispatched Bogomolov in one hour exactly. He delivered 12 aces and 29 winners in his first ATP World Tour hard court match since March.
“I’m very happy. Yeah, I mean, it was a quick match, a good one for me. I served well,” Federer said. “I was able to play some good points on the offensive, and overall I’m very pleased because I don’t know Bogomolov that well. I’ve only played him once, and that was so long time ago I hardly remember.”
The year was 2004. The place, the Australian Open. Federer, then 23, beat the Russian 6-3, 6-4, 6-0.
Bogomolov assured the players’ second career meeting by ousting Jarkko Nieminen in straight sets to advance to the Round of 32. But Federer gave the No. 62 player little breathing room, breaking him with an ace in the third game to set the tone for the win.
After three straight tournaments on grass – the Olympics, Wimbledon and Halle – Federer wasn’t sure what to expect in his return to hard courts.
“Obviously the turnaround from grass to hard court might not be an easy one this year. The ball definitely bounces so much higher here and plays much faster than Wimbledon, so it just takes some getting used to,” Federer said. “I’m happy I was able to find a way.”
Now a teenager awaits.
Federer faces Australian Bernard Tomic, 19, at 2:30 p.m. today on Center Court with a quarterfinal bid on the line. Federer has defeated Tomic twice since 2011, including a three-setter at the 2012 Australian Open.
Tomic downed Americans Ryan Harrison and Brian Baker to meet Federer. Although he has battled inconsistency of late – losing six of his previous seven completed matches entering the W&S – the 49th-ranked player has been pleased with his progress.
“I’ve been playing good the last fortnight,” Tomic said after the Harrison win. “I’m happy the way I’m playing here today. Last week as well was good for me to win my first round after a good six, seven weeks. I think I played good against Novak (Djokovic) as well, picked up good confidence.”
Djokovic routed Tomic 6-2, 6-3 in a Rogers Cup match en route to Sunday’s title in Toronto.
Asked about Tomic post-match, Federer was aware the teen had gone through a rough patch. He didn’t know whether some of Tomic’s tougher losses would make him more dangerous.
“Obviously he likes the big stage. He likes playing against the best players. That’s what gets him going right now. So it’s going to be a difficult match for me, I do believe,” Federer said.
“The last couple of times I played him, I was able to win. I did have to work hard, and that’s kind of what I expect this time around as well. Obviously this is much faster conditions than the Australian Open, so it will play very different. It’s going to be interesting to see how he comes out and plays.”