Roger Federer recalls: 'I almost lost the opener, and I'm happy to win in straights'



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Roger Federer recalls: 'I almost lost the opener, and I'm happy to win in straights'

Two years after stunning the seven-time Wimbledon champion Pete Sampras, Roger Federer was ready for another strong All England Club campaign. Roger lost to Mario Ancic in the first round in 2002 and was off to a better start a year later, especially after winning the first ATP title on grass in Halle.

Roger made a winning start at Wimbledon after ousting Hyung-Taik Lee 6-3, 6-3, 7-6 on Court 2. Federer had to work hard in the third set to seal the deal and set the second-round clash against his good friend Stefan Koubek.

Roger and Stefan played on the Centre Court, and the Swiss scored a swift 7-5, 6-1, 6-1 triumph in an hour and 17 minutes. Federer dropped 22 points in 13 service games and had everything under control after the opener. The Swiss needed some time to find the rhythm in the first set before storming over the Austrian, dominating sets two and three and earning seven breaks while offering only three opportunities to Stefan.

Roger Federer took down Stefan Koubek on the Centre Court in 2003.

Koubek made a promising start in the opener and created a 5-2 advantage with a single break before Roger bounced back. The Swiss rattled off the last five games and fended off a set point on serve at 3-5 to earn a massive boost that led him towards 17 of the final 19 games and a place into the last 32.

There was a rain delay in the opening set. Roger used it nicely to recover his game and have the upper hand once they returned, leaving the opponent miles behind and setting the clash against Mardy Fish. After the match, Roger spoke about the changes when you move from Court 2 to the Centre Court, praising the world's most famous tennis venue.

"It's a significant change from playing on Court 2 and suddenly on the Centre Court. It's maybe the best court on the planet right now; it's exceptional to go out there with my friend Stefan Koubek by me. I needed some time to get used to the bigger court in the first set.

After the rain delay, I came back, played more aggressive tennis, served better and changed a few things that Peter and I worked on during the break. In the beginning, Stefan was hitting the ball very hard, and it was tough for me to have the upper hand in the rallies. I almost lost the first set, and I'm pleased to go through in straights," Roger Federer said.