Federer wins exhibition match

It's all coming together quite nicely for Roger Federer.

updated: May 28, 2007 14:35 IST
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It's all coming together quite nicely for Roger Federer.

Fresh off the biggest clay-court win of his career, the top-ranked Federer beat the man he defeated in the Australian Open final, Fernando Gonzalez, in a one-set exhibition 7-6 (1) on Saturday in front of a packed center-court crowd at Roland Garros.

Federer, who beat second-ranked Rafael Nadal last weekend in the Hamburg Masters final, has won 10 major titles but still needs a victory at the French Open to complete a career Grand Slam.

"Obviously the feeling's better now than it was two weeks ago," said Federer, who went four tournaments without a title until Hamburg. "But in the end, I think I would have blocked all problems out for the French Open, for a big occasion like this."

Against Gonzalez, the man he beat in this year's Australian Open final, Federer wasted several break points early in the set but finally converted in the eighth game - right after the Chilean had broken to take a 4-3 lead.

Federer then easily won the tiebreaker, winning five straight points after a mishit had cut his lead to 2-1.

Nadal, the only man to beat Federer in a Grand Slam last year, warmed up Saturday by easily beating Fabrice Santoro 6-1.

The Frenchman was cheered on by the local crowd against the two-time defending champion, but Nadal quickly jumped to a 5-0 lead before Santoro managed to hold serve in the sixth game.

In the final game, Nadal took a 40-15 lead, but Santoro rallied to deuce before an ace and a forehand winner gave the Spaniard the victory.

Both Federer and Nadal have at least one more day of rest before playing. The top-seeded Federer will open against Michael Russell of the United States, while Nadal faces Juan Martin del Potro of Argentina.