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16 February, 2018 00:00 00 AM
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Federer two wins away from oldest No 1

AFP
Federer two wins away from oldest No 1
Switzerland’s Roger Federer plays a forehand return during his men’s singles match against Ruben Bemelmans from Belgium in the first round of the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam on Wednesday. AFP photo

AFP, ROTTERDAM: Roger Federer delivered a crushing 6-1, 6-2 defeat of Ruben Bemelmans in just 47 minutes on Wednesday as the Swiss star moved just two wins away from becoming the sport's oldest world number one.

The 36-year-old top seed, a two-time champion at the Dutch indoor event, needs to reach the semi-finals to take back the number one spot from Rafael Nadal. With two more victories, Federer would become the oldest man by three years to hold the top position in the rankings.

“It's very surprising how good things went today,” Federer said. “The key is to start well, put him under pressure.

“I wanted to make him think he had to do something special to beat me. I did well there, I felt good, I'm healthy and I'm confident. It was a great first round for me.”

Federer gave no quarter as he raced to a 5-0 lead, with the out-matched Bemelmans winning his first game after 16 minutes.

The outcome was never in doubt as Federer dominated with six aces and four service breaks, winning an impressive 21 of 23 first-serve points in the demolition. The 20-time Grand Slam champion on Thursday takes on German Philipp Kohlschreiber, against whom he stands 12-0 in career meetings.

Third seed Alexander Zverev fell in an upset to qualifying lucky loser Andreas Seppi of Italy, 6-4, 6-3 in the second round to open up Federer's half of the draw.

Grigor Dimitrov and David Goffin, the duo who faced off in last year's season-ending ATP Finals, both advanced with straight-sets wins.

Second seed Dimitrov, who beat Belgian fourth seed Goffin in the London final last November, had to fight back in the second set to defeat Japan's Yuichi Sugita 6-4, 7-6 (7/5) in their first-round encounter.

Goffin made light work of veteran Spaniard Feliciano Lopez, cruising through 6-1, 6-3 to reach the quarter-finals.

Dimitrov won the opening set against Sugita but fell behind a break in the second before levelling for 5-all.

As the set went into a tie-break, the Bulgarian surged ahead as he took a 5-2 lead but had to hold off his opponent as Sugita clawed back to within a point of levelling.

Dimitrov then sent a forehand into the corner to earn a pair of match points and advanced on his second with a service winner to end the resistance of the 41st-ranked Sugita.

Last weekend's Montpellier champion Lucas Pouille exited in his opening match, losing 7-5, 6-4 to Andrey Rublev.

The Russian was joined in the second round at the Ahoy Arena by Pierre-Hugues Herbert of France, who advanced after just 15 minutes when compatriot Richard Gasquet, the Montpellier finalist, retired with a groin injury trailing 3-1.

Pouille lost in 93 minutes, hitting a dozen aces in defeat but losing serve four times.

 

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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