MUNICH: Top seed Roger Federer started his Munich Open campaign with a fairly comfortable 6-4, 6-3 win over Croatia’s Zeljko Krajan yesterday
Switzerland’s Federer advanced to the second round of the claycourt event smoothly, as did local favourite Rainer Schuettler, who beat Austria’s Juergen Melzer by the same score.
Federer now meets Harel Levy of Israel, who crushed Dane Kenneth Carlsen 6-3, 6-1.
Fourth-seed Schuettler, competing in Germany for the first time since reaching the Australian Open final in January, was a losing finalist in the Bavarian city last year.
“I was a bit nervous and I’m not entirely satisfied with the way I played,” said the German, who faces an interesting test in the second round against Nikolay Davydenko.
The 21-year-old Russian, who has won his first two titles this year, advanced yesterday with a 7-5, 6-1 win over American Cecil Mamiit.
Tim Henman, the seventh seed, also survived the first round with a hard-fought 7-5, 4-6, 6-1 victory over baseliner Nicolas Lapentti of Ecuador – only his second win of the year after recovering from a shoulder injury.
The Briton, who has had little time to adapt his game to the slow surface before next month’s French Open, plays either German Bjorn Phau or Austria’s Stefan Koubek in the next round.
Henman was not the only seed to get a stern test, sixth-seeded Russian Mikhail Youzhny was pushed hard by Norwegian qualifier Jan-Frode Andersen before coming through 4-6, 7-5, 6-3.
All eight seeds remain in the draw before the second round starting today.
The championships have increased prize money by 9.5% for the tournament, although a slight differential remains for the men and the women, the men’s singles champion pocketing £575,000 and his female counterpart £535,000.
Prize money for the other events will remain the same, for a grand total of £9.37mil.
Tournament chairman Tim Phillips said: “Leading athletes in top spectator sports such as tennis are rightly well rewarded for their outstanding talent and the entertainment they bring us.” – Agencies