Published: Wed, January 17, 2018
Sport | By Wilson Duncan

Dominant Federer makes light work of Bedene

"I love what I do".

Six-time Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic and 2014 victor Stan Wawrinka returned from injuries that had sidelined them since Wimbledon, top-ranked Simona Halep recovered from 5-2 down in her first set and a tumble in the second, and 2016 champion Angelique Kerber continued her unbelievable return to form.

The second seed, of course, went on to win the most remarkable of his 19 grand slam titles and began the defence of his crown with a comfortable 6-3 6-4 6-3 victory over Aljaz Bedene, who is representing Slovenia again after almost three years as a British player.

"In the immortal words of Ron Burgundy, it's great to be here with two tennis legends - Roger Federer and John McIntosh", Ferrell said, intentionally getting McEnroe's name wrong.

The Swiss great thrilled the centre court night crowd with an exquisite curving forehand down the line and past Bedene for another service break early in the final set.

The 36-year-old said: "Last year was so good I'm just anxious I know it won't be".

With the temperatures heating up, he was pushed to four sets by Ricardas Berankis before prevailing 6-3, 6-4, 2-6, 7-6 (7/2) in a tough workout he said was "proud" to come through.

Djokovic lost in the second round past year, but won five of the previous six Australian Open titles. "I came in with the right emotion, grateful to have this opportunity". Some players I think struggle with it.

Federer kicked off his title defence in Australia with a comfortable first-round win against Aljaz Bedene of Slovenia, breezing past the 28-year-old 6-3, 6-4, 6-3.

In other results, fourth seed Alexander Zverev scrapped his way to a straight-sets win over Thomas Fabbiano. "I am hoping to stay healthy and give myself chances and hope to play my very best in the big matches".

36-year-old Federer, who had played down talk that he should be seen as the man to beat at the first Grand Slam of 2018, will face Jan-Lennard Struff in the second round.

Halep, who has had back-to-back first-round exits on her last two trips to Melbourne Park, opens on day two against Australian wild-card entry Destanee Aiava. Out Milos Raonic. Angelique Kerber, Maria Sharapova, Johanna Konta, Karolina Pliskova and Garbine Muguruza won with very solid performances.

Two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova lost 6-3, 4-6, 10-8 to Andrea Petkovic.

The second seed is the bookies favourite to win a 20th career Grand Slam.

Ferrell and Federer cracked up the crowd.

Like this: