MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Roger Federer showed no signs of rust from his lack of match practice ahead of the Australian Open as the third seed launched his campaign for a record 21st Grand Slam title by hammering American Steve Johnson 6-3 6-2 6-2 in the first round on Monday.
Playing his first competitive match since losing to Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas in the ATP Finals in November, the 38-year-old broke his opponent’s serve early in each of the three sets and closed out the match when Johnson hit a return long.
Despite blustery conditions, Federer served superbly from the start and hit winners at will against Johnson, who is ranked 75th in the world, and he was as ruthless under the closed roof at the Rod Laver Arena after play was interrupted by rain.
A six-time champion at Melbourne Park, Federer will take on the winner of the match between French qualifier Quentin Halys and Filip Krajinovic of Serbia in the second round.
(Reporting by Sudipto Ganguly; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)
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