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Roger advances at the Australian Open

15.01.2007 | Tennis

Roger made it look difficult for a change, starting his bid for a 10th Grand Slam championship and successful Australian Open title defence by dropping serve three times in the first set.

 

But our Champion rebounded quickly after Bjorn Phau took a 5-3 lead, winning the next nine games - conceding only six points in the second set. He went on to win 7-5, 6-0, 6-4, easily dispatching the 27-year-old German who beat him seven years ago in their only previous match.

 

"I got broken in the first set three times, and that makes you a little bit nervous," said Roger, who went 92-5 with 12 titles last season and has held the top ranking since February 2004. "You try to stay cool, but I got a little bit nervous." Otherwise, he said, "It felt great to be back."

 

Roger changed his preparation schedule this year, skipping his usual regular-season opener and playing three matches in an exhibition tournament at Kooyong, where he lost the final Saturday to Andy Roddick.

 

Roger said it would take a little time to get his best rhythm back, and was happy to even the score with Phau, who beat him in 1999 at Washington.

 

In the next round, he will either play against Jonas Bjorkman from Sweden (50) or Olivier Patience (115) from France.

 
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