By Afolabi Adetunji Lagos, Nigeria.
MELBOURNE, Australia — Seventeen years ago to the day, an 18-year-old from Switzerland made his Australian Open debut. Roger Federer knocked Michael Chang, a former Grand Slam champion, off the court in straight sets.
On Wednesday, at age 35, Federer was the overwhelming favorite to defeat a 20-year-old qualifier from New York, Noah Rubin, who is ranked No. 200 in the world. This time there was no upset as Federer prevailed 7-5, 6-3, 7-6 (3).
“I wasn’t feeling as good as in the beginning,” Federer said in his on-court interview. “I definitely got lucky to win that third set. A lot of difficult moments out there, but it’s what I need to progress in this tournament.”
John Isner, the highest-seeded U.S. player in the men’s draw at No. 19, lost in five sets to Mischa Zverev at the Australian Open.One of several American men to stumble Wednesday in Round 2.
Defending champion Angelique Kerber celebrated birthday with 2nd round win.survived a scare to beat Carina Witthoeft in three sets on Wednesday in a second-round match at the Australian Open.
Venus Williams said she’ll “manage” an elbow injury that forced her to withdraw from doubles at the Australian Open. Earlier, she beat qualifier Stefanie Voegele in singles in the second round.
Continuing his comeback from a knee injury that forced him to miss six months, Federer looked solid in this battle of former Wimbledon champions; Federer is a seven-time champion, and Rubin was the 2014 Wimbledon junior champion.
“I have played out here many, many times. That’s my advantage,” Federer said. “He’s been around a couple of years, plays well, great fighter, great legs. I think he had the upper hand from the baseline. I think my serve kept me in the match today.”
After defeating a pair of qualifiers, the road becomes appreciably more treacherous for Federer, who will face No. 10 seed Tomas Berdych in Friday’s third-round match.