Federer demolishes Lacko at Australian Open

MELBOURNE: Roger Federer was in sublime form as he launched his Australian Open title defence with a crushing straight-sets victory over Lukas Lacko on Monday.
The Swiss maestro was in irrepressible touch in coasting to a 6-1, 6-1, 6-3 win over the 97th-ranked Slovakian in just 1hr 24min.
The four-time champion broke Lacko's serve seven times and hit a stream of 37 winners and just 18 unforced errors to dominate his opening match.
Federer looked ominous in his first outing on Rod Laver Arena since beating Andy Murray in last year's final.
Federer, the all-time Grand Slam leader with 16 titles, is bidding to become only the second man to win five times here, behind Australian Roy Emerson's six.
     Federer was never in danger of losing in the first round in his 12th Australian Open appearance and is due to next play either Sydney International winner Gilles Simon of France or Taiwan's Lu Yen-Hsun.

Leading American and eighth seed Andy Roddick crushed Czech Jan Hajek 6-1, 6-2, 6-2 as he attempts to improve on his four semi-final appearances at the season-opening Grand Slam.

Earlier French 12th seed Gael Monfils recovered from two sets down to win his opening match with a gruelling five-set victory over injured Dutchman Thiemo De Bakker.

In a fluctuating encounter, the erratic French number one began confidently, but fell into a slump before rallying to take the match, 6-7 (5/7), 2-6, 7-5, 6-2, 6-1 in 3hr 38min.

The 46th-ranked De Bakker was broken serving for the match at 5-4 in the third set and his game fell away after he left the court for an injury timeout for a groin injury early in the fourth set.

Monfils, who looked headed for an early exit from the season-opening major, finished well on top of De Bakker, wrapping up the final two sets for the loss of just three games.

The big Dutchman, a former ITF world junior champion, appeared inhibited in his movement and was unable to seriously challenge Monfils in the deciding sets.

Meanwhile, four-time Australian Open quarter-finalist Nikolay Davydenko crashed out in the first round. The Russian 23rd seed fell to German Florian Mayer, 6-3, 4-6, 7-6 (7/4), 6-4.

American Sam Querrey was another seeded casualty, going out to Poland's Lukas Kubot in five sets. Kubot beat the 18th-seeded Querrey 5-7, 6-2, 3-6, 6-1, 8-6.


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