17th May, 2012
Third seed Roger Federer overcame physical aches and pains to beat Carlos Berlocq 6-3 6-4 to reach the third round of the Rome Masters.
Spain’s Rafael Nadal, seeded second, also progressed with a 6-1 7-5 victory over Germany’s Florian Mayer.
Top women’s seed Victoria Azarenka of Belarus, beat Israeli Shahar Peer 6-1 6-2 but then withdrew from the tournament with a shoulder injury.
British number one Andy Murray faces France’s Richard Gasquet today.
Federer, winner of the Madrid Masters last weekend, only decided to play after completing his practice session yesterday morning.
After setting up a clash with Juan Carlos Ferrero, the Swiss said: “I wanted to see how I felt and make sure that I didn’t have anything major because we’re ahead of a long summer.
“If this was the last tournament of the season it would be no problem. But as this is the beginning of many tournaments in a row, potentially a lot of five-setters in a row, I need to make sure I make good decisions, so I go round-by-round.
“I’m happy that I felt OK out there today.”
Seventh seed Tomas Berdych saw off Lukas Kubot 6-4 6-1 but Janko Tipsarevic, ranked eighth, was the biggest men’s seed to fall after losing 6-3 6-1 to Stanislas Wawrinka.
In the women’s event, Venus Williams beat Ekaterina Makarova 7-6 (9-7) 6-1, while her sister Serena saw off Nadia Petrova 4-6 6-2 6-3.
But big seeds Agnieszka Radwanska and Caroline Wozniacki both lost.
Third seed Radwanska was beaten 6-4 4-6 6-1 by Petra Cetkovska , while sixth seed Wozniacki retired injured against Anabel Medina Garrigues who won 6-4 4-0.
Serena Williams appeared to struggle with her back at times.
“Everyone has aches and pains here and there and today I felt it a lot because I have been playing a lot and practising even more,” she said. “Hopefully I’ll be better by tomorrow (today).”