BASEL: Roger Federer eased through to the second round of the Swiss Indoors here on Monday on his return after a six week break with a 6-3, 6-4 victory over Belgian qualifier Olivier Rochus.
The world No 1 — bidding for a fourth successive Swiss Indoors title — shook off the rust from a six-week break to roar through and a date with Italian Andreas Seppi in just 66 minutes. Federer's march to victory was preceded by an operatic performance with massed choir and selections from Aida as his hometown honoured three straight titles at the St Jakobshalle by the world-famed native son.
Federer improved to an overwhelming 6-0 over Rochus. The Swiss top seed broke in the sixth game of the 29-minute first set, then fired his fifth ace for a 5-2 lead before securing the opening lead. In the second, Federer went ahead 3-2 and was untroubled save his minor niggles in closing out the straightforward victory.
The top seed has not played since helping his nation retain their place in the Davis Cup World Group with a win over Italy in September. Federer has not lost in Basel since the second round in 2003 when he was beaten by Croatian Ivan Ljubicic.
Fellow Swiss Stephane Bohli failed to give the home crowd a winning start on the day, losing 4-6, 6-1, 7-5 to Italy's Seppi. In the day's opening contest, Frenchman Florent Serra beat Croatian Ivo Karlovic 7-6 (7/5), 6-4.