In his debut with a larger 98 square inch racquet, Roger Federer eased passed Daniel Brands 3-6, 6-3, 6-2 in 86 minutes in the round at the clay Hamburg Open. After the match Federer was quizzed on how his new racquet held up.
“I’m pleased how it’s playing,” said Federer who had long used a 90 square inch frame. “I kind of knew it from practice, so it wasn’t like just jumping into the water, but I’m very happy that under match conditions I was feeling comfortable with it. I’m satisfied.
“I’ve been very close on numerous occasions to change racquets in a bigger way,” he added. “But then very often, time was the issue. Maybe also just the records of Grand Slams – I was always keeping on playing quarters and semis – so then it was also a bit more difficult to change it because of the time.
“This time around, all of a sudden I just had the extra 10 days, two weeks I was looking for, and I really was very serious about it. Wilson flew to Switzerland and we went through the whole process and I was very happy how things went over there.”
Federer admitted that he decided to make the change after his shock second round loss to Sergiy Stalhovsky at Wimbledon. “I’m happy I did the change and now we’ll see how it goes. So far, so good.”
Federer did drop the opening set to Brands who pushed Rafael Nadal at the French, but the 4-time tournament champion quickly swept the next two sets.
“I think it was good for me to have a tough match like this and come through at the end,” said Federer. “Clearly these kind of matches are always important, especially losing the first set makes things difficult. You’re not allowed to make many more unforced errors in crucial moments and I was able to come through and play better as the match went on. That’s always encouraging for the next round.”
Federer is playing Hamburg and next week Gstaad after poor results thus far this year have left him short in the matches played department. Federer’s win today was just his 28th of 2013, and that doesn’t event rank him in the Top 10 in terms of wins this season.
Next for Federer is qualifier Jan Hajek who upset Ernests Gulbis in three sets.
Also today, German favorite and Federer friend Tommy Haas won in three sets over qualifier Blaz Kavcic. Wimbledon semifinalist Jerzy Janowicz was a winner as was recent titlist Fabio Fognini.
“I think my opponent was a bit nervous, playing in front of a packed house here, but in the second set he got an early break and started serving much better and started playing much better tennis,” said the 35-year-old Haas. “It was a tough, fought-out match in the end, so I got lucky a little bit in the end to have won.”
Tomorrow Janowicz meets Fernando Verdasco while Haas faces Carlos Belocq who beat Verdasco on Sunday to win the Gstaad title.
THURSDAY HAMBURG SCHEDULE
CENTER COURT start 11:00 am
 J Monaco (ARG) vs  B Paire (FRA)
G Garcia-Lopez (ESP) vs  N Almagro (ESP)
C Berlocq (ARG) vs  T Haas (GER)
 [WC] R Federer (SUI) vs [Q] J Hajek (CZE)
Not Before 6:20 PM
 F Lopez (ESP) vs F Mayer (GER)
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