Following his dismissal of budding Australian talent James Duckworth, 17-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer will now set his sights on his second round encounter with Blaz Kavcic, who defeated Radek Stepanek, when the Czech No. 2 was forced to retire with a neck injury. This marks the first time these two competitors will meet on the professional tour and should make for an interesting encounter.
Roger Federer began his record 57th straight Grand Slam appearance with a straight sets victory over 21-year-old Australian wildcard entrant, James Duckworth to advance to the second round in Melbourne. While Duckworth put forth a valiant effort throughout the match, it was not enough to subdue the 4-time Australian Open champion. Duckworth worked hard to win his service games and managed to save 13 break point opportunities throughout the match, but evidently allowed Federer to take four break point chances, which was enough to secure each of the three sets. The third set was the least competitive in the match, as it appeared that Duckworth had lost hope in the match and ultimately succumbed to the Swiss No. 1 6-4, 6-4, 6-2 in 1 hour and 46 minutes.
“It was not much rhythm out there,” said Federer. “It was a matter of getting the job done and not getting broken. So it was a solid match from start to finish. Could have maybe won a few more break points here and there, but who cares now?”
Federer has not missed a Grand Slam tournament since the 1999 US Open. His appearance at the 2014 Australian Open allowed him to surpass the record previously held by Wayne Ferreira, who appeared in 56 straight majors from the 1992 through 2003 Australian Opens.
Next up for the World No. 6 is Slovenian Blaz Kavcic, who advanced to the second round in Melbourne when Radek Stepanek retired in the fourth set of their first-round match. Stepanek had had won the first two sets, but was at a clear disadvantage in the latter stage of the match as only managed to win one of the last nine games played before he retired citing a neck injury. The final score of the match was 6-7, 4-6, 6-1, 2-0 for the Slovenian.
While the near inhumane heat in Melbourne will certainly affect most players, it appears that Federer was not overly bothered with the temperatures during his afternoon match on Tuesday, which should mean he will not be at a disadvantage in his second round encounter. Considering this is the first time these two athletes are drawn in a professional tournament, it will be interesting to see if Kavcic can produce some inspiring tennis to pick up a historic upset over the former World No. 1. While the possibility exists, it is highly unlikely, as Federer has been in good form since arriving in Melbourne and will be looking to boost himself into the later stages of the tournament, preferably with the least amount of exertion as possible.
Prediction: Roger Federer in Straight Sets