Roger Federer cruised in his first match in over two months, defeating Guillermo Garcia-Lopez 6-3, 6-4. Federer said after he had no issues playing on his surgically repaired knee for the first time since January.
“The knee felt really good, like in practice. Felt like I didn’t have to worry about it. I could just go freely,” Federer said. “I think in a way it was a perfect match. It was close in the beginning, then I was able to go on a roll. Points were cut short by virtue of me serving better and returning better, getting second serves, taking advantage of that fact. At the end, again, I had to fight for it. I went through different phases in the match.
“Also emotionally, I was excited and tense in the beginning, just because it’s a first round. It’s my first match back. So it was nice to go through all these emotions.”
The only bump for the Swiss was losing a 5-1 lead in the second, but the 4-time finalist closed it out.
Next for Federer is another Spaniard, Roberto Bautista Agut.
“I think I got what I needed. So we’ll see how I feel tomorrow, tonight, the next day,” Federer said. “Sometimes after a match, you can feel it for two days. At this point I’m pretty confident I’ll feel fine.”
Earlier, Andy Murray earned his first clay win of the season beating French qualifier Pierre-Hugues Herbert 6-2, 4-6, 6-3.
“It was obviously a very scrappy match,” said Murray. “The best tennis I played was really in the third set when I was up a break. He had a few chances there. I was able to raise my game at those moments.
“But it was obviously up and down in the second set for me. On this surface, that’s something that shouldn’t happen. It’s possible to get broken, but sort of the consistency of your tennis, it should be better because it’s a slower court, so you have got more time on the ball. Made too many mistakes in the second set.”
The Scot has gone the distance in four of his last six matches.
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga also was a winner over Pablo Carreno Busta. And David Goffin stayed hot upended Feliciano Lopez 7-5, 6-0.
Gilles Simon began the day besting Grigor Dimitrov 6-4, 6-3 for a fifth time in six matches. And David Ferrer withdrew with a calf injury. He was replaced by countryman Marcel Granollers.
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