Roger Federer's streak of having never lost in the first round of the Australian Open continued on Day 2 at Melbourne Park. The 17-time Grand Slam champion cruised to a straight-sets victory over Aussie challenger James Duckworth inside a scorching-hot Rod Laver Arena, 6-4, 6-4, 6-2, according to ESPN Tennis on Twitter:
Federer wraps up his 1st round match for a win. Challenging draw ahead including Verdasco and Tsonga in 3rd and 4th round, respectively.— ESPNTennis (@ESPNTennis) January 14, 2014
Federer needed less than two hours to advance to the second round in front of newly appointed coach Stefan Edberg, per USA Today: "I used to watch his matches and get inspired. He warmed me up...I won!"
By taking the court on Tuesday, Jan. 14, Federer set an Open era record for most consecutive Grand Slam appearances, per ESPN Stats & Info:
Roger Federer: 57th straight Grand Slam event played (sets Open Era record)— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) January 14, 2014
The 1999 U.S. Open was the last major tournament that didn't feature Federer in the main draw.
However, Federer wasn't content to simply make history by showing up against Duckworth. After shaking off some unavoidable rust, Federer showed why he's the sixth-seeded player in the men's draw.
Surprisingly, the four-time Australian Open champion would squander seven break point chances in the opening set. But despite his struggles, he managed to pick up the one he needed to avoid the tiebreak and take the early advantage.
On the flip side, Federer's serve was exceptional from the opening point as he laid down five aces and won 16 of 17 first-serve points in the opening frame.
The second set featured more of the same as Federer only awarded Duckworth one break point opportunity. The young Australian would miss his lone chance to break and wound up losing the set despite having won just three fewer points than Federer.
Duckworth had no answer for Federer's serve again in the third set, failing to generate a single break point chance en route to falling 6-2.
Although Duckworth recorded 13 aces to Federer's 11, the No. 6 seed's overall dominance on serve (76 percent total service points won) and lower unforced error count (17-38) clearly tell the tale. The 21-year-old Duckworth finished with 34 winners to just 30 for Federer, but his aggressive game plan wasn't enough to spring the upset.
Up next, Federer will take on the winner of Radek Stepanek vs. Blaz Kavcic in the second round on Day 4.
Keep in mind that Federer is 12-2 all time against Stepanek and hasn't lost to him since 2008. Meanwhile, he's never played Kavcic, who currently ranks 99th in the world, just 34 spots ahead of Duckworth.
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