Mon | Dec 5, 2016

Rusty Federer survives Brisbane scare

Published:Friday | January 9, 2015 | 12:00 AM

BRISBANE, Australia (AP):

Roger Federer was rusty in his season-opening match at the Brisbane International, and it had him in a serious sweat.

The 17-time Grand Slam winner held his cool to recover from a set and a breakdown, and beat Australian wild-card entry John Millman 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 yesterday.

The weather was reasonably mild for subtropical Brisbane, where Federer lost to Lleyton Hewitt in the final last year. It was the hot reception from the No.153-ranked Millman that troubled him for a while.

"I'm sweating like crazy," Federer said. "Under a lot of pressure. I think I got quite lucky in the second set. He was playing great tennis."

Slow start

It was a slow start for the 33-year-old Swiss star, who had a first-round bye. He wasted four break-point chances in an opening game that lasted seven minutes before Millman held.

Federer was broken in the 10th game, saving three set points before hitting a swinging forehand volley too long to surrender the first set to Millman, who was getting raucous support from a parochial hometown crowd.

The top-seeded Federer dropped serve to give Millman a 3-1 lead. But he broke back immediately, setting it up with a classic one-handed backhand down the line, and saved three break points in the next game to keep it on serve.

Wild-card entry

That's when things started to go his way. Wild-card Federer will face another Australian wild-card entry in the next round, after James Duckworth beat Jarkko Nieminen 4-6, 7-6 (5), 6-3.

In quarter-finals at the ASB Classic in Auckland, New Zealand, top-seeded Caroline Wozniacki beat Julia Goerges of Germany 6-4, 6-4 and third-seeded Venus Williams had a 6-2, 6-4 win over Elena Vesnina.

Wozniacki's semi-final opponent will be fourth-seeded Barbora Zhalavova Strycova of the Czech Republic, a 6-4, 7-5 winner over Coco Vandeweghe. Williams, the losing finalist in Auckland last year, will next meet unseeded Lauren Davis of the United States.