Lacko hopes in ashes as Federer is off to a flyer

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The Chinese tennis fan who had her giant tennis ball signed by Kevin Pietersen might have wondered just whose autograph she had collected, but Roger Federer was well aware of the feats of the England cricketers who watched his emphatic 6-1, 6-1, 6-3 victory yesterday over Slovakia's Lukas Lacko.

Federer, who met the England players afterwards, said he had watched some of the Ashes series. "I always like to watch cricket when I'm down here," the Swiss said. "I know it's big news, so you should be happy that you have it. It's not always going to be like that, you know."

As to his own form, the defending champion said: "I thought I played great." His next opponent should offer a tougher challenge. Gilles Simon, who took the Sydney title last weekend, has won both his previous encounters with Federer.

Novak Djokovic eased to a 6-1, 6-3, 6-1 victory over Marcel Granollers on a day when two men's seeds were beaten, Nikolay Davydenko and Sam Querrey falling to Florian Mayer and Lukasz Kubot respectively. Aravane Rezai and Daniela Hantuchova were the two women's seeds to go out.