Switzerland's Roger Federer is continuing to shine in world tennis after beating Australia's Andrew Ilie at the ATP tournament in Rotterdam. His compatriot, Michel Kratochvil, was did less well against Goran Ivanisevic in Memphis.
Federer needed just an hour and 11 minutes to see off Ilie, although the Australian pushed the Basel teenager to the limits during the first set. Broken on his first service game, Federer had to fight back to take the set on a tie-break.
But Ilie was unable to keep up the pressure in the second set, allowing Federer to complete a 7-6 (7-5), 6-1 victory.
Michel Kratochvil, playing at the ATP tournament in Memphis, never stood much of a chance in his match against Goran Ivansevic. He made the Croatian work hard for his victory, though, snatching the second set in a tie-break before losing the third and the match.
Federer's victory means he now faces French number two, Sébastien Grosjean, in the second round.
The match with Grosjean could be seen as good practice for Federer ahead of Switzerland's Davis Cup tie with France in April, but Federer might reasonably argue that he's had more than enough practice against French players already this season.
Almost half of Federer's matches on the ATP tour this year (seven out of 16) have been against French men.
The Swiss number one has won five of those seven meetings, beating Arnaud di Pasquale, Nicolas Escude, Julien Boutter and Cyril Saulnier (twice) but he has yet to beat any of the country's Davis Cup players this year.
In January he was knocked out during the quarter-finals of the Sydney Open by Grosjean before losing out to Arnaud Clement in the third round of the Australian Open.
swissinfo with agencies