Roger Federer content after straightforward victory at the Australian Open

Straight sets victory for former champion

Roger Federer was relieved to have come through his first competitive match of 2013 after thrashing Benoit Paire in the opening round of the Australian Open today.

Federer opted to skip the usual warm-up tournaments and instead played a series of exhibition events in South America but hit the ground running in Melbourne with a 6-2 6-4 6-1 victory in which he was rarely troubled.

The Swiss followed fellow title contenders Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray in going through with all three looking in ominously good form at this early stage.

Djokovic beat Paul-Henri Mathieu yesterday while Murray opened the day two action with a 6-3 6-1 6-3 demolition of Dutchman Robin Haase.

Federer was equally impressive when he made his entrance and admitted to being pleased after safely negotiating the first hurdle.

He said: "Benoit's a good player, a good talent. I haven't played a match this season yet and you're not sure (how you're going to play). That's why you're relieved when you get through the first one.

"I've had a few busy years since I had kids. I just wanted to cool down a bit. It's nice to enjoy the off season. I hope it's the right decision, we'll see how it goes. I'm confident in my play."

Such was Federer's dominance he admitted he was able to experiment with certain aspects of his game.

"When you're in the lead you feel less pressure and you can try things to see if they work," he said.

"I'm obviously very happy, I felt in total control. He can be a tricky opponent but I guess his playing style doesn't disturb me that much overall."

Murray also felt he did a "pretty good job" on Haase as he moved through to a meeting with Portugal's Joao Sousa.

"It was a good start," he said. "It was very different conditions to what it's been like the last four, five days. The court was playing different, much livelier.

"But I thought I did a pretty good job from the start - dictating the points and not giving him too many freebies."

It was Murray's first grand slam match since he claimed his maiden major at the US Open last year - but he claimed he was still nervous beforehand.

"I don't think there is anyone who doesn't (get nervous)," he said.

"Nerves are a good thing. If you aren't nervous, it shows that you're really not that bothered.

"I started the year well in Brisbane but coming into the slams the first match is normally pretty tough.

"You just have to focus and play solid, not make too many silly mistakes.

"I did a good job of that today.

"It is always nice to get through the first round of any tournament but especially here."

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, the runner-up here in 2008, is regarded as a threat to the 'big three', especially if can raise his game late in the second week, and he too looked good in seeing off French compatriot Michael Llodra 6-4 7-5 6-2.

The same applies to Argentinian Juan Martin Del Potro, who dropped just five games in beating French qualifier Adrian Mannarino.

Big-hitting Canadian Milos Raonic dropped the first set but hit back to beat Jan Hajek in four while there were also wins for ninth seed Richard Gasquet, 12th seed Marin Cilic, 17th seed Philipp Kohlschreiber and 21st seed Andreas Seppi.

In the late match, Bernard Tomic, the talented young Australian who claimed his first title in Sydney last week, proved far too strong for Leonardo Mayer, going through his full repertoire to win 6-3 6-2 6-3.

PA

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