Swiss tennis star Roger Federer kept his winning streak alive on Wednesday, but only after an unexpectedly tough first round encounter in Marseille against French wild card Cyril Saulnier.
Federer's exertions during last weekend's extraordinary Davis Cup win over the United States may help to explain his sluggish start against the Frenchman.
Broken on his first service game, Federer found himself trailing Saulnier 3-0. Pulling back level to set up a tie-break, the Swiss number one then had to defend a set point before being gifted the set by a Saulnier double fault.
In the second set, Federer again struggled to break down his opponent, and was nearly broken again in the seventh game, when he had to defend three break points.
But with another tie-break apparently looming, the teenager from Basel, finally succeeded in breaking Saulnier's serve to wrap up a 7-6 (9-7), 6-4 victory.
Federer's serve was his most consistent weapon in an otherwise inconsistent performance. He fired in a total of 17 aces.
Following his recent glories in Basel, Federer now has another American encounter to prepare for. In the second round of the Marseille tournament he is due to meet Californian qualifier Bob Bryan.
swissinfo with agencies