Roger Federer 'surprised' after comfortable opening victory in Rotterdam

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Roger Federer is on course to become world's oldest player.

Roger Federer delivered a crushing 6-1, 6-2 defeat of Ruben Bemelmans in just 47 minutes on Wednesday as the Swiss star moved just two wins away from becoming the sport’s oldest world number one.

The 36-year-old top seed, a two-time champion at the Dutch indoor event, needs to reach the semi-finals to take back the number one spot from Rafael Nadal.

With two more victories, Federer would become the oldest man by three years to hold the top position in the rankings.

“It’s very surprising how good things went today,” Federer said. “The key is to start well, put him under pressure.

“I wanted to make him think he had to do something special to beat me. I did well there, I felt good, I’m healthy and I’m confident. It was a great first round for me.”

Federer gave no quarter as he raced to a 5-0 lead, with the out-matched Bemelmans winning his first game after 16 minutes.

The outcome was never in doubt as Federer dominated with six aces and four service breaks, winning an impressive 21 of 23 first-serve points in the demolition.

The 20-time Grand Slam champion on Thursday takes on German Philipp Kohlschreiber, against whom he stands 12-0 in career meetings.

“You always prefer to play the guy whose game you know,” Federer said.

“You know his patterns, it’s nice to play someone like that, you know what to expect.

“My start will be crucial, I need to stay focused all the way. Any lapses can get you into trouble.”

Third seed Alexander Zverev fell in an upset to qualifying lucky loser Andreas Seppi of Italy, 6-4, 6-3 in the second round to open up Federer’s half of the draw.

Grigor Dimitrov and David Goffin, the duo who faced off in last year’s season-ending ATP Finals, both advanced with straight-sets wins.

Second seed Dimitrov, who beat Belgian fourth seed Goffin in the London final last November, had to fight back in the second set to defeat Japan’s Yuichi Sugita 6-4, 7-6 (7/5) in their first-round encounter.

Goffin made light work of veteran Spaniard Feliciano Lopez, cruising through 6-1, 6-3 to reach the quarter-finals.

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Roger Federer set to begin quest to regain world number one ranking in Rotterdam

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Roger Federer won his 20th Grand Slam title in Melbourne in January.

Roger Federer is a man who possesses more talent than most of us could only dream of, with one of the Swiss’s powers seemingly being his ability to go back to the future.

Or, that’s what it feels like anyway as Federer is set to defy time again.

This week, fresh from his record-breaking 20th Grand Slam title at the Australian Open last month, he will begin his campaign at the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam and the end goal of becoming the world’s oldest number one in the history of the ATP World Tour.

The 36-year-old, who lies just 155 ranking points behind current top dog Rafael Nadal, can surpass his great rival if he makes the semi-finals at an event he has won twice previously.

Injury-stricken Nadal is not due to play until Acapulco at the end of the month, meaning a last-four berth this week would see Federer replace Andre Agassi as the eldest statesman to accomplish the feat. The American has held the record since 2003, when he topped the world aged 33 years and 131 days.

Federer, himself, is of course a man with a great affinity to top spot having been at the summit for a record 302 weeks throughout his career, with 237 of them being consecutive from February 2004 to August 2008. Obviously, that was another squiggle in the history book next to his name.

The fact he hasn’t been atop of the rest since November 2012 just adds another dimension to a man who seems to be getting better with age.

A master of his schedule, the Swiss was granted a late wildcard by tournament director and former Wimbledon champion Richard Krajicek to enter the event – knowing full well that his window to go top was small given he has plenty of points to defend at Indian Wells and the Miami Open next month. For UAE tennis fans, it is disappointing that we won’t see Federer in action at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championship this year but again, it’s easy to see why he chose to play in the Netherlands.

Federer, who only dropped two sets en-route to a record-equalling sixth major crown in Melbourne, will face Belgian qualifier Ruben Bemelmans in the first round on Wednesday and could take on compatriot Stan Wawrinka in the quarter-finals. That’s not a foregone conclusion despite the three-time Grand Slam champion’s indifferent form, but Alexander Zverev potentially awaits in the semi-final and Grigor Dimitrov in the final.

Few would argue against him going all the way to the title.

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Federer visits Rottnest Island, takes selfie with quokka

Sport360 staff 28/12/2017

Roger Federer is in Perth ready to start the new season at the 2018 Hopman Cup, but before he takes to the court down under, the legendary 19-time Grand Slam champion has been soaking up the sights.

On Thursday, the Swiss took in the famed Rottnest Island and Parakeet Bay, where he met fans, had time for a BBQ and even took a selfie with a quokka.

In the gallery above, we look back at the highlights from Federer’s first day in Western Australia.

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