Basel: Top seed Roger Federer reached the second round of Swiss Indoors tennis as opponent Alexandr Dolgopolov (formerly Oleksandr Dolgopolov Jr.) was unable to finish after rolling an ankle in a 6-4, 5-2, 15-15 loss.
Federer, a three-time champion at the event where he got his start in the game as a teenaged ballboy, was serving for victory after 48 minutes when his 48th-ranked opponent chased down a ball but fell and hurt his right ankle here Monday.
‘I missed playing here five years ago with an ankle injury like his,’ Federer said. ‘But ever since, I’ve had my ankles taped.’
Federer will play in the second round at the St Jakobshalle against either Janko Tipsarevic of Serbia or Denis Istromin of Uzbekistan.
The Swiss hero took his win with nine aces and three breaks of serve. He served a love game in the first set and two more in the second in a power display, as he bids for a fourth trophy this season and his 65th overall.
He allowed just four points on nine service games, increasing his domination with 21 winners in the perfect start.
‘Aleksandr is a talented player, someone we need for the future of the game,’ Federer said. ‘But one thing is for certain - I want to win this home event for a fourth time.’
Federer was beaten in the final a year ago by this year’s second seed, Novak Djokovic, a loss that halted a three-year title run. The 16-time Grand Slam champion stands 34-7 in Basel, where he first played as a wild card in 1998.
Federer owns the Australian Open and Cincinnati Masters in 2010 and added Stockholm to the list eight days ago.
Swiss wild card Stephane Bohli went down 6-4, 6-3 to start the week, a victim of qualifier Robin Haase. American eighth seed John Isner staged a comeback as he put out Michael Llodra of France 4-6, 7-5, 6-3.
The tournament boasts four of the ATP top 10 - Wimbledon finalist Tomas Berdych and Andy Roddick join Federer and Djokovic - with the season ticking down as this week and next remain to play before the eight-man season finals starting November 21 in London.
The final three positions in the field are still to be decided.