PA – Roger Federer has put his full array of shots on display in a 6-3 7-5 win over German player Alexander Zverev in the second round of the Italian Open.
After withdrawing from last week’s Madrid Open with lower back pain, world No.2 Federer looked sharp from the start on Wednesday against the 44th-ranked Zverev, using his backhand slice drop shot especially well.
The 19-year-old Zverev, considered a potential future grand slam champion, often found himself running down shots wide in the alleys. At one point, Zverev was pulled so far off court he ended up in the lap of a line judge – then hugged the official after Federer put away an easy volley.
Federer is attempting to win the claycourt event in Rome for the first time.
The loss leaves Zverev 0-8 against top-10 players.
Federer used one break to win the opening set and went up a break in the second, only to lose it in the fourth game. But the Swiss struck back for a 6-5 lead and completed the victory a game later as Zverev returned wide on match point.
Federer is playing his 16th edition in Rome and has finished runner-up four times. He lost the final last year to Novak Djokovic.
Rome is only the fourth outing of the year for the 17-time grand slam winner who underwent knee surgery after the Australian Open. He stands 11-3 for the season.
Federer has set up a third-round clash with 13th-seeded Austrian Dominic Thiem who has beaten Joao Sousa of Portugal 6-3 6-2.