Another milestone as Federer downs Stepanek
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Last Updated: Sunday, March 27, 2011, 16:47
  
Miami: Roger Federer notched another match win and another career milestone on Saturday as he launched his campaign at the $9 million Miami WTA and ATP Masters tournament with a victory over Radek Stepanek.

The third-seeded Swiss defeated Stepanek 6-3, 6-3 to reach the third round.

But there was a touch of desperation on court later as Andy Roddick became the second Miami title-holder in as many years to exit in an opening match.

The American eighth seed, who has been troubled by a low-grade illness for a month, was ambushed by Pablo Cuevas 6-4, 7-6 (7-4).

"I had a little trouble breathing out there today," said the American, who will drop from the top ten in the next rankings. "I've had something for a little while, but I'm going to have it checked out when I get home.

"I didn't feel good all day. I've had it dating back to Memphis off and on. That's a little too long, I think."

Roddick helped the United States win their Davis Cup tie in Chile earlier this month, but then failed to make the quarter-finals at the Masters 1000 event at Indian Wells.

He was treated on court on Saturday for both his illness and a groin problem.

Cuevas, ranked 67th in the world, had never played Roddick before and made the most of his first chance.

In the third round he'll face Frenchman Gilles Simon, who beat German Rainer Schuettler 6-4, 6-3.

Federer, whose 16 grand slam titles are the most in history, joined Pete Sampras on seventh in the all-time win list with 762 career victories. Jimmy Connors sets the pace in that statistic with 1,242.

"It's nice tying Pete, but he could have played for many more years," said Federer. "He could still win some matches on tour now if he wanted to."

"It's a funny stat, but it shows how long I have been around already, how much I've won, all around the world and all the different surfaces. I've played 10, 12 solid seasons, you know," added Federer, who next faces Argentina's Juan Monaco -- a 6-4, 6-7 (2/7), 6-4 winner over Ukrainian Sergiy Stakhovsky.

"I've never missed big chunks of seasons. That's how you end up with so many wins, I guess," said Federer, who fired seven aces and needed just 62 minutes to subdue Czech veteran Stepanek.

Despite the apparent ease of the victory, Federer said the Crandon Park courts were playing too slow for his liking.

"It's hard to put balls away, you have to really set it up perfectly. It reminds me slightly to clay in terms of how you can construct points. You have to really create the way you play the points.

"I wish it was a bit faster, but it is what it is. It's also a surface I can play my best tennis on, so we'll see how it goes."

Bureau Report


First Published: Sunday, March 27, 2011, 16:47


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