Federer cruises, Roddick crashes in Rome

Roger Federer cruised into the second round of the Italia Masters event in Rome, on Tuesday, with a straight sets victory over Sweden's Jonas Bjorkman.

updated: February 25, 2007 10:06 IST
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Top seed Roger Federer cruised into the second round of the Italia Masters event in Rome, on Tuesday, with a straight sets victory over Sweden's Jonas Bjorkman. The top seed, already the winner of three titles this year, dominated from the start, but failed to convert any of the four break points he created in the first set and Bjorkman hung on into a tiebreak. However, Bjorkman was skillfully wrong-footed by Federer in the tiebreak and the Australian Open champion went on to take the first set 7-6. Federer was much more clinical in the second. A single break of serve in the sixth game was sufficient to set up match point and Bjorkman's resistance ended with a wayward backhand. Federer kept up his perfect record against the Swede and set up a second round tie with Spain's Albert Costa. After the match, Federer said he hoped to go one better than last year at the Italian Masters, where he was beaten in the final by another Spaniard, Felix Mantilla. "I have very good memories of this tournament, it's a beautiful city as everybody knows and the crowd here in Italy are very enthusiastic. It's great fun to play out here and hopefully, I can go one better this year, so I can win the title, but it's still far off, I have to improve" Roger Federer said. Away from the Centre Court, number eight seen Nicolas Massu was given something of a shock by Massimo Dell'Acqua - the Italian qualifier taking the first set on a tiebreak. Massu fought back to take the second 7-5 and won through to the last 32 when Dell'Acqua double faulted at match point, an unfortunate end to a gutsy performance. The Chilean moves on to meet the winner of the match between Irakli Labadze of Georgia and Argentina's Gaston Gaudio. The home crowd did get something to cheer about, when Filippo Volandri got the better of Germany's Nicolas Kiefer in the day's strangest match. Volandri took the first set 6-4, but lost the second 6-0 and that turned out to be the last time the German would win a game as Volandri stormed the deciding set to love. Next up for the Italian is the number eleven seed, Sjeng Schalken of the Netherlands. Andy Roddick, the number two seed, was given a tricky assignment in the shape of Argentine clay court specialist Guillermo Canas, but in reaching the final in Houston two weeks ago the American appeared to be getting to grips with the surface. However, Canas broke in the fifth game here and although Roddick recovered to force a tiebreak, he then squandered three set points to hand the first set to the Argentine 7-6. In the second set, Roddick's first serve percentage dropped to 17 per cent and as a result he was broken three times, eventually folding 7-6, 6-1 in an hour and 22 minutes. The U.S. Open champion's preparations for Roland Garros could hardly have got off to a worse start, but understandably, Canas was delighted. Former U.S. Open champ Marat Safin, unseeded for this tournament, had the crowd as well as Italian Wild Card Stefano Pescosolido against him in his first round match. But the 24 year-old Australian Open finalist this year brushed aside the challenge, taking the first set 6-4 and breaking again in the second to pile the pressure on the inexperienced Italian. The match ended tamely with a double fault from Psecosolido and Safin advanced 6-4, 6-3 and will meet Thailand's tenth seed Paradorn Srichaphan in round two. Surprisingly, Spain's Tommy Robredo and Mark Philippoussis of Australia had never met before at the top level, but Philippoussis, the number nine seed, was expected to come out on top. However, Robredo won in Barcelona last week and Philippoussis had lost his last three matches, so form was on the Spaniard's side as he took the first set 6-2. Philippoussis levelled the match at one set all, but stuttered in the ninth game of the decider, losing his serve and handing the initiative to his opponent. Robredo duly served out for a 6-2, 4-6, 6-4 win and a second round match against Croatian qualifier Ivo Karlolvic. (AP)