Switzerland's Roger Federer got his U.S. hard-court season off on the right foot with a much-needed win, topping Germany's Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-3, 7-6 (9-7) to advance to the third round of the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati, Ohio.
The world No. 5 did not face a single break point in cruising to an easy first-set win on Tuesday night, but things got more complicated in the second set against his 26th-ranked opponent.
Although both players lost their serves once each in the second set, Federer was able to win the big points in the tiebreaker to move through.
"I think it was a match where I had to sort of just fight to come through and hope get over the finish line sort of thing," Federer was quoted as saying by the ATP World Tour's Web site.
"I was playing really well at times, and then sometimes it was maybe a bit up and down. But assessing the performance overall, I'm very happy. It's good to be back and playing pain free," the Swiss, who has struggled with a back injury in recent weeks, added.
The 17-time Grand Slam champ has struggled of late, losing in the second round at Wimbledon - his earliest exit from a major since 2003 - and also suffering defeats to players ranked outside the top 50 at two clay-court events in July.
Federer, who recently switched to a larger racquet to give his game a boost, pulled out of last week's Rogers Cup event in Montreal.
He has enjoyed a great deal of success at the Cincinnati Masters, however, having won that tournament a record five times.
Federer could square off against arch-rival Rafael Nadal at this year's event if both players are able to reach the quarterfinals.
The Cincinnati Masters is one of the biggest hard-court tournaments on the ATP calendar and a key tune-up for the U.S. Open, which gets underway later this month. EFE