Solid Swiss start for Federer
Roger Federer delighted his home fans in Basel as he started his bid for a sixth Swiss Indoors titles with victory over Benjamin Becker.
The top seed was made to work hard in the opening set against the German world number 83, who was playing as a replacement injured Frenchman Jeremy Chardy, before coming through to a 7-5 6-3 success after 90 minutes on court.
Federer has walked away with the title in five of the last six years at the St Jakobshalle, but was put under pressure by the big serve from Becker whilst he was also forced to see-off a number of break points himself.
However, Federer kept up the pressure and finally took the set with the eighth break point he earned - albeit from a Becker double fault.
In the second set, it was the German who secured the first break of serve in the fifth game - much to the shock of the Basel crowd - but the Swiss ace broke back immediately and then broke again two games later before wrapping up the match.
"I was well-prepared to play Becker instead of Chardy," said Federer, as he starts his chase for a 77th ATP Tour title. "You have to keep the game of these guys in mind, you don't play them that much but you need to know how they play.
"I don't know exactly how I changed it around. He broke me at 2-3 but I was able to get it straight back. It all went so fast at the end, but the first set was really tough.
"It is just so great to play at home as world number one after the season I've had. It's a wonderful feeling to be here playing at the top of my game."
Poland's Lukasz Kubot was also a winner on the day, beating Lukas Lacko 6-4 6-4, while Frenchman Julien Benneteau needed three set to overcome Russian Andrey Kuznetsov, eventually triumphing 4-6 6-3 6-3.
Hello, regular commenting on Orange News and Sport pages closes on Thursday 30 May 2013. We will continue to provide a commenting facility on major news and sport events on orangeworld.co.uk. Contact us via http://oran.ge/OWfeedback if you have any further questions. Thanks.