• Western & Southern Open

Clean start a relief for Federer

ESPN staff
August 14, 2013
Roger Federer reverted to playing with his old racket in Cincinnati © AP

Roger Federer kicked off his belated start to the hard court season on a positive note with a comfortable 6-3 7-6 win over Phillip Kohlschreiber at the Western & Southern Open.

Federer, a five-time champion at the event and last year's winner, had skipped last week's Rogers Cup with a sore back having added two clay court events to his schedule following his shock second round exit at Wimbledon to experiment with a new racket.

But with his old racket in hand, the former world No. 1 extended his unbeaten record against the German to seven matches.

"It was important to play a clean match," Federer said. "I had a few tough weeks, months behind me, I was happy to play a clean match.

"I told myself I was not going to come back until I felt no pain in my back. Eventually I started to work out very hard."

Federer slipped to fifth the ATP rankings for the first time in a decade after Wimbledon as a far-from-vintage season, but is intent on winning a record sixth Cincinnati title before a tilt at a sixth US Open crown.

"It is a tournament I have always played in lead up to the US Open, I like it here. I love the calmness of this place."

Third seed David Ferrer was taken the distance by American Ryan Harrison before coming through 7-6(5) 3-6 6-4, while Milos Raonic marked his debut in the ATP's top ten this week with a comeback victory over US 20-year-old Jack Sock, eventually prevailing 3-6 6-4 6-3.

Ninth seed Stanislas Wawrinka booked his spot in the second round with a 6-3 6-4 win over Italy's Andreas Seppi, while Tommy Haas advanced with a straightforward 6-4 6-4 victory over South Africa's Kevin Anderson.

Gilles Simon, the 15th seed in Cincinnati, retired with a hip strain while trailing Canadian Vasek Pospisil 6-3 1-1, while Spain's Feliciano Lopez upset Japanese 10th seed Kei Nishikori 6-4 7-6(4).

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