ATP Cincinnati Masters: Roger Federer victorious on hardcourt return
Roger Federer finally got his hardcourt season up and running with a 6-3 7-6 (9-7) win over Phillip Kohlschreiber.
Last Updated: 14/08/13 12:34pm
Federer has been suffering with a bad back and had to skip last week's event in Montreal. He had not played on American hardcourts since Indian Wells back in March and he arrived in terrible form.
Shock early defeats at Wimbledon, Hamburg and Gstaad has led to the Swiss maestro experimenting with racket head sizes in a bid to revitalise his game.
He had never lost to Kohlschreiber in six previous meetings but nevertheless the German represented something of a banana skin given his form and fitness.
But Federer sidestepped it, surviving a tough second set tie-break 9-7 to reach the third round where he will face either Marcel Granollers or Tommy Haas, both of whom are in excellent form.
Federer, who has won the Cincinnati title five times, said: "It was important to play a clean match. I had a few tough weeks, months behind me, I was happy to play a clean match.
"I told myself I was not going to come back until I felt no pain in my back. Eventually I started to workout very hard.
"It is a tournament I have always played in lead up to the US Open, I like it here. I love the calmness of this place."