Second seed Roger Federer survived a first set scare before he ramped up his performance and advanced safely to the third round of the Australian Open with a 3-6 6-3 6-2 6-2 victory over Italian journeyman Simone Bolelli on Wednesday.
Federer initially looked out of sorts against the 29-year-old Italian, who was perhaps feeding off the energy Alexandra Panova generated in almost beating women’s second seed Maria Sharapova immediately before their match on Rod Laver Arena.
The 33-year-old Swiss seized his opportunity to turn the momentum of the match in the eighth game of the second set when he broke Bolelli for the first time, which was followed by a massive bellow of ‘come on’.
Federer had been awarded the match when a Bolelli shot was called long at 5-1 in the fourth set, but the Italian correctly challenged and the point was replayed though it only delayed the inevitable as the 17-time grand slam winner then served it out.
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“It was a great match,” said Federer.
“I thought Simone played really well in the first set, so I really had to fight until the middle of the third set and once I got the break I was able to relax a little bit, but it was tough and I’m really pleased to come through.
“I was already seeing myself explaining losing in the second round and I’m happy I don’t have to do that interview.”
There was a moment of controversy during the encounter when Federer angrily shooed away a TV cameraman who the star felt was too close as he got treatment for a blister on his hand..
“Do you need to be so close?” Federer barked, before composing himself and continuing.
Federer later said that the minor injury had severely distracted him for a while.
“It felt like a bee stung me. I never had this pain before – it was disturbing me,” he said.
“I knew taping it wasn’t the right thing so I just wanted to speak to the trainer. Thankfully it wasn’t as bad at the end.