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01-21-2011, 01:40 AM #1
Federer struggles but finally beats Simon
Melbourne: Roger Federer put the hammer down in the first two sets but then had to fight to escape with a 6-2, 6-3, 4-6, 4-6, 6-3 win over tenacious Gilles Simon on Wednesday for a place in the third round of the Australian Open.
The victory required five match points for Federer, who had lost both of his previous matches with the Frenchman, the only man in the game against whom he had never won a match.
The 16-time Grand Slam winner lost both 2008 matches he played against the scrawny but powerful Frenchman who once stood inside the Top 10 before a knee injury kept him out 10 months last season.
Simon won the third and fourth sets and put the pressure on by saving four match points before Federer got out of jail with his 11th ace to claim victory after three hours.
Simon beat Federer in Canada and at the season-ending championships in 2008 when the Swiss had suffered with a case of glandular fever.
Simon showed the form which won him the Sydney title last weekend, but that was ultimately not enough against an on-form Federer, bidding for a fifth Melbourne title. Federer tuned up by claiming the trophy in Doha in the first week of 2011.
'I didn't play poorly to lose the third and fourth,' said the relieved second seed. 'Gilles took it to me. I remained positive. I'm happy I won. I got lucky, I'm still in the tournament....being a human...