Flawless Federer fires timely reminder of title threat as Swiss star strolls through
05:24 GMT, 15 January 2013
06:13 GMT, 15 January 2013
Roger Federer opened up his Australian Open challenge – and his season – with a routine straight-sets victory over France's Benoit Paire.
The second seed came to Melbourne having played no warm-up tournaments, but showed no signs of rustiness as he kicked off his bid for a fourth Australian Open title with a 6-2 6-3 6-1 win over the world No 46 in just 83 minutes.
For Paire, who deals more in spurts of inspiration than the sustained brilliance of Federer, it was a painful experience and by the end he looked keen to get off court as quickly as possible.
Main man: Roger Federer eased into the second round with a straight forward win over Benoit Paire
Federer said: 'Benoit's a good player, a good talent. I haven't played a match this season yet. You're not sure [how you're going to play] and that's why you're relieved when you get through the first one.'
Federer, who won the pair's only previous encounter in straight sets, was immediately into his stride as he broke in game one, then produced a wonderful pick-up at net in his opening service game, going on to save two break points to hold for a 2-0 lead.
Paire held twice and matched his opponent in patches, but Federer broke again for 5-2 then served out in style.
Family affair: Federer's wife Mirka and two children (below) were watching him in first round action
Paire was unruffled, though, and opened up set two with back-to-back aces to help take the first game.
But normal service was resumed as Federer broke for 2-1 then held to love to take a firm grip on the second set.
Paire held to stop the rot as Federer sent a backhand long, but he struggled to make any impact on the Swiss player's delivery as the set progressed with serve.
Federer produced a textbook serve-volley point for 5-3, but failed to take a set-point chance as Paire held on to make him serve for the set.
Different league: Benoit Paire was unable to get to grips with Federer's superior game
Predictably, the task presented the former world No 1 with few problems as he held to 15 and took the set when Paire pushed a backhand long.
Federer broke to open the third and, with all hope lost, Paire came out swinging, but he was missing more than he was hitting and the tactic served only to hasten his demise.
Even when Paire did show good touch at net with an acute backhand, Federer was there to pat the ball into the open court – a point which gave him a 4-0 lead.
Paire finally held for 4-1, then, produced the unlikeliest of break points – his first since Federer's opening service game of the match – but could not convert it.
One for the scrapbook: Federer signs autographs after completing a routine win in Melbourne
Paire's game descended into trick shots as he attempted – unsuccessfully – a volley between his legs as he served to stay in the match.
Staying in the match looked like the very last thing he wanted, though, and Federer closed it out at the second attempt.
Afterward, the Swiss, who will next face either Israel's Dudi Sela or former world number three Nikolay Davydenko or Russia, explained his decision to play no warm-up matches.
'I've had a few busy years since I had kids,' he said. '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.'
Jumping for joy: Jo-Wilfried Tsonga also made it through to the second round with a straight-sets win
Meanwhile, former finalist Jo-Wilfried Tsonga cruised to a 6-4, 7-5, 6-2 win over fellow Frenchman Michael Llodra.
Serving for the match, Tsonga hit a backhand drop half-volley at the net, then powered a forehand to the open court on match point to advance to the second round at Melbourne Park.
Tsonga, seeded seventh, had his best result in a Grand Slam when he made the final of the 2008 Australian Open, losing to Novak Djokovic.