Del Potro, Djokovic shine on day one

Argentina's Juan del Potro and Serbia's Novak Djokovic easily stormed into the second round on the first day of the Australian Open. But three-time winner Roger Federer of Switzerland got off to a much slower start.


AFP - Three-time winner Roger Federer got off to a slow start in his bid for a record-equalling 14th Grand Slam title on Monday as defending champion Novak Djokovic stormed into the Australian Open's second round.

Federer took two hours and 20 minutes to overcome 35th-ranked Italian Andreas Seppi 6-1, 7-6 (7/4), 7-5, while Serbia's Djokovic had a much easier task against qualifier Andrea Stoppini.

Andy Roddick also opened strongly against Sweden's Bjorn Rehnquist while Spanish 11th seed David Ferrer was made to struggle against German journeyman Denis Gremelmayr.

And there was joy for home fans as Australian teen Bernard Tomic became the event's youngest male winner aged 16 years and 90 days.

Federer looked back to his best in the first set against Seppi but was taken to a tie-break in an error-strewn second and needed three match points to put the Italian away.

"He was a very tough customer," Federer said. "But I think I played well. I had to as he's a quality player."

The Swiss second seed can match Pete Sampras's Grand Slam record of 14 titles here and is also trying to win back the number one ranking from Spain's Rafael Nadal.

Earlier, in blazing sun at Melbourne Park, Djokovic dispatched Stoppini (ITA) 6-2, 6-3, 7-5 after seeing off a late revival from the Italian.

"There is pressure. But it didn't affect me today, I'm still trying to find the rhythm and I'm slowly getting there," Djokovic said.

"It is a different feeling, but I look at it as a challenge."

Meanwhile, 2005 champion Marat Safin destroyed Ivan Navarro of Spain 6-3, 6-3, 6-4, afterwards refusing to talk about his retirement plans.

"I don't want to speak about this because already I've been asked this question so many times that I'm just a little bit tired to answer it over and over," he said. "Let's leave it."

However, 11th seed David Ferrer struggled through in five sets against Germany journeyman Denis Gremelmayr, blaming an inexplicable loss of confidence.

"I'm very irregular. Sometimes I'm playing very well, sometimes I'm playing very badly so it's confidence for me over the last two months," he said.

Former number one Roddick scored an early win against Swedish qualifier Bjorn Rehnquist, boosting his hopes of returning to the sport's peak.

"My results last year, especially in Slams, don't warrant me being talked about," he said.

"The thing about sports is no one really remembers yesterday, and that's fair. You have to go out and prove yourself on a daily basis. I have no problem with that."

Australian attention focused on the sunglasses-wearing Tomic, who rode strong home support to beat Italian Potito Starace 7-6 (7/5), 1-6, 7-6 (7/5), 7-6 (8/6).

"It's a dream come true to win a first round in my first Grand Slam," the teenager beamed.

"I'm just thrilled that I could pull off a win today. With the crowd behind me, it was an unbelievable experience."

Tomic has the advantage of a second-round match against Luxembourg's Gilles Muller, who was on court for nearly four-and-a-half hours in his five-set win against Spanish 27th seed Feliciano Lopez.

Argentinian hotshot Juan Martin Del Potro also made it through along with 2006 finalist Marcos Baghdatis, rising Croatian star Marin Cilic and 10th seed David Nalbandian.

"I need to improve a lot my serve, my volley. But I need time also. Maybe some time, a few months I can be there," said eighth seed Del Potro, when asked if could compete with the top players.

World number one Rafael Nadal and the in-form Andy Murray play their first matches in the other half of the draw on Tuesday.

REUTERS - Australian Open men's singles first round results on Monday (prefix number denotes seeding, * new result):

*2-Roger Federer (Switzerland) beat Andreas Seppi (Italy) 6-1 7-6(4) 7-5

*10-David Nalbandian (Argentina) beat Marc Gicquel (France) 6-1 4-6 6-2 6-3

Janko Tipsarevic (Serbia) beat Oscar Hernandez (Spain) 4-6 6-1 6-3 4-6 6-0

Fabrice Santoro (France) beat Juan Carlos Ferrero (Spain) 6-3 6-2 6-7(5) 6-2

32-Philipp Kohlschreiber (Germany) beat Sam Querrey (U.S.) 7-6(6) 6-3 6-2

Simone Bolelli (Italy) beat Kristof Vliegen (Belgium) 7-6(5) 7-6(3) 7-5                 

26-Marat Safin (Russia) beat Ivan Navarro (Spain) 6-3 6-3 6-4 28-

Paul-Henri Mathieu (France) beat Jarkko Nieminen (Finland) 6-2 4-1 (Nieminen retired)

Lu Yen-Hsun (Taiwan) beat Thomaz Bellucci (Brazil) 6-3 7-5 6-4

19-Marin Cilic (Croatia) beat Kevin Anderson (South Africa) 6-3 6-2 6-7(4) 6-3          

Guillermo Garcia-Lopez (Spain) beat Agustin Calleri (Argentina) 3-6 7-6(5) 6-2 6-0      

Evgeny Korolev (Russia) beat Carlos Moya (Spain) 6-3 6-1 7-6(7)

Amer Delic (U.S.) beat Taylor Dent (U.S.) 6-4 3-6 4-6 6-3 6-4

Gilles Muller (Luxembourg) beat 27-Feliciano Lopez (Spain) 6-3 7-6 4-6 4-6 16-14 

23-Mardy Fish (U.S.) beat Samuel Groth (Australia) 6-7 6-4 7-5 6-0               

3-Novak Djokovic (Serbia) beat Andrea Stoppini (Italy) 6-2 6-3 7-5                  

Brydan Klein (Australia) beat Bjoern Phau (Germany) 6-4 6-3 4-6 6-3                 

Jeremy Chardy (France) beat Marcos Daniel (Brazil) 6-4 6-4 6-1

Viktor Troicki (Serbia) beat Alberto Martin (Spain) 6-3 3-6 6-2 6-4                 

Bernard Tomic (Australia) beat Potito Starace (Italy) 7-6 1-6 7-6 7-6      

15-Stanislas Wawrinka (Switzerland) beat Ivo Minar (Czech Republic) 6-1 2-6 7-5 7-6(9)

Marcos Baghdatis (Cyprus) beat Julien Benneteau (France) 6-3 7-6 6-2             

11-David Ferrer (Spain) beat Denis Gremelmayr (Germany) 6-1 6-7 6-1 6-7 6-4   

8-Juan Martin Del Potro (Argentina) beat Mischa Zverev (Germany) 6-3 6-4 6-2        

Dominik Hrbaty (Slovakia) beat John Isner (U.S.) 7-6(4) 2-6 6-2 7-5

16-Robin Soederling (Sweden) beat Robert Kendrick (U.S.) 5-7 6-4 6-4 7-5

21-Tommy Robredo (Spain) beat Bobby Reynolds (U.S.) 6-2 7-5 6-1

Xavier Malisse (Belgium) beat Michael Llodra (France) 7-6(8) 6-1 6-1  

20-Tomas Berdych (Czech Republic) beat Robby Ginepri (U.S.) 6-4 6-4 6-3

Florian Mayer (Germany) beat Lamine Ouahab (Algeria) 6-2 6-1 6-2

Brian Dabul (Argentina) beat Philipp Petzschner (Germany) 6-1 6-2 6-4

7-Andy Roddick (U.S.) beat Bjoern Rehnquist (Sweden) 6-0 6-2 6-2

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