Federer, Murray win first matches since Wimbledon

August 12, 2009 07:27 AM

MONTREAL (AP) -- Roger Federer, playing for the first time since winning Wimbledon, returned to the court with a 7-6 (3), 6-4 win over Canada’s Frederic Niemeyer at the Rogers Cup on Tuesday night.

Federer, who took time off while his wife gave birth to twin girls, took a set to find his range and then the top-ranked Swiss star put away the low-ranked Niemeyer.

The 33-year-old Niemeyer, whose ranking has tumbled to 487th, plans to retire at the end of this season.

‘“He’s a nice man,” said Federer. “It’s sad when you leave the game, but he seems happy with himself, so I wish him well. … We played each other in a satellite in front of two people. It was snowing outside. And 11 years later we’re playing in front of a packed house here in Montreal.”

Niemeyer had a double-fault in the first set tiebreaker, and then lost his serve at 3-3 in the second set and Federer served out the match.

“The atmosphere was unbelievable,” Niemeyer said. “It’s my last match here and I was able to play the way I’m capable of playing. Too bad it was my last one, but I have no regrets. I just enjoyed the moment.”

Federer said Niemeyer gave him trouble with his serve, which made it difficult to establish a rhythm in his game.

“After five or six weeks of not playing matches, just practice matches, you’re a little slow on the returns,” Federer said.

Earlier in the day, Andy Murray—also playing his first match since Wimbledon—beat France’s Jeremy Chardy 6-4, 6-2. Murray lost to Andy Roddick in the semifinals at Wimbledon, but he was in control from the start against Chardy.

“I feel better, now I’ve got through the first one, because you lose your rhythm a bit,” said the third-seeded Murray. “I didn’t really have more than six or seven days off without playing a match for a long time.”

Murray is off to the best start of his career with a 46-7 record, winning four tournaments this year.

With Rafael Nadal struggling on sore knees, Murray can overtake the Spaniard for the No. 2 ranking if he wins the tournament. Murray also could attain No. 2 if he reaches the final and Nadal loses in the semifinals.

“I’ve been asked about it a lot so, it’s impossible not to think about it. But when I’m playing my match, it’s the furthest thing from my mind,” Murray said the rankings.

Nadal was to play a doubles match on Tuesday. He’s scheduled to play singles on Wednesday, the first since he lost in the fourth round of the French Open and withdrew from Wimbledon because of tendinitis in his knees.

Murray will face the winner of a match between Juan Carlos Ferrero of Spain and 13th-seeded Gael Monfils of France. Ferrero advanced by defeating Lleyton Hewitt 6-1, 6-4 in a match of former No. 1 players.

The 29-year-old Spaniard improved to 4-6 in career matches against Hewitt. Ferrero needed to get through two qualifying matches to play in the tournament.

Last year, the 28-year-old Hewitt missed the Rogers Cup because of hip surgery.

Fourth-ranked Novak Djokovic of Serbia trailed 3-0 in the first set before rallying for a 6-4, 7-6 (6) victory over Canadian Peter Polansky.

Also, 11th-seeded Fernando Gonzalez of Chile held off Milos Raonic 4-6, 7-6 (6), 6-4 in the Canadian’s ATP Tour debut.

The 18-year-old Raonic was the youngest player in the tournament and the lowest ranked at 679th. He was the first Canadian to get into the main draw through the qualifying tournament since Bill Cowan in 1986.

In other first round matches, Tommy Robredo of Spain defeated American Alex Bogomolov 6-4, 6-2, and Victor Hanescu of Romania beat Jurgen Melzer of Austria 6-4, 6-3.

Qualifier John Isner defeated fellow American Jesse Levine 6-3, 6-4.