Saturday, July 28, 2012

Roger Federer opens Olympic bid with a win

Switzerland's Roger Federer has taken the first step in his pursuit of Olympic gold, defeating Colombia's Alejandro Falla 6-3, 5-7, 6-3 in the first round of men's singles tennis at the London 2012 Games on Saturday. 

He will face France's Julien Benneateau in the second round.

Federer looked to be in full control in the early going, taking the first set from Falla with relative ease. But he fell out of sync in the second set, squandering three match points and six break point opportunities to go along with 14 unforced errors.  

"I've struggled against him in the past at times. I was able to mix it up well and played well for the first set-and-a-half and all of a sudden I missed the match points, things got difficult and he played a great match to come back, so I'm relieved of course," Federer said. "Falla is a great player, counter-punches well, plays really well and made things really difficult for me."

The tournament's top seed fell behind 3-2 in the third set but rebounded to take the next four games from the overmatched Colombian.  

Federer, participating in his fourth Olympics, has not had much success in singles competition, although he did win doubles gold alongside Stanislas Wawrinka at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games. His best finish at the Olympic Games was a semifinal loss at Sydney 2000 when he was 19 years old. At Athens 2004, Federer, the top seed, was eliminated in the second round; at Beijing 2008 he was upset by James Blake in the quarterfinals.

Although Federer, 30, said earlier in the week he hasn't ruled out competing at the 2016 Olympic Games, his window to win a gold medal is closing. And despite all the individual achievements and Grand Slam titles, Federer is well aware of what is at stake in London.

"It's a huge deal, it would be a massive highlight of my life. I remember the emotions I had winning the gold (at Beijing 2008) with my buddy Stan (Stanislas Wawrinka) who was sitting in the crowd today, how vivid and emotional it was for me," Federer said. "I have a chance, I'm the No.1 player in the world so I should have a chance, at medals and hopefully gold. It's already the fourth Olympics for me so I will give it all I have."

No comments: