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Favourite Federer cruises into round three

While his rivals wilted in the searing Melbourne sun, supercool Swiss Roger Federer moved into the Australian Open third round with a clinical win over German Jan-Lennard Struff.

The temperature in Melbourne still sat above 30 degrees during the night session on Rod Laver Arena but the title favourite looked comfortable in his 6-4 6-4 7-6 (7-4) victory over the world No.55.

Gunning for his sixth Open crown and 20th major Federer will now take on French veteran Richard Gasquet as he makes a third-round appearance for the 19th consecutive year.

Federer has only lost to world No.31 Gasquet twice in 18 meetings.

The 36-year-old broke Struff at 2-2 in the first, with the second set following in similar fashion.

The German 27-year-old, who had never progressed beyond the first round at Melbourne Park, made more of a contest of it in the third set.

He broke Federer in his second service game through some uncharacteristic errors.

But a steely Federer quickly regained focus and broke back in the next game.

With the set then going to serve and Federer trailing 5-6, he made a statement with three booming aces to rack up 17 for the match and force the tiebreak.

He held three set points with Struff saving one before Federer sealed the result.

While he looked at ease, the Swiss maestro said he was wary of the big-hitting German, having practised with him previously.

“I knew he was going to go for shots, so it is a question about focusing on my own serve and protecting that as well as I can,” Federer said.

“And then try to somehow get a break by good defence or maybe he helps me out a little bit – I think it was a bit of both.”

Federer said he was happy to avoid the sweltering daytime heat, although hoped he would be up to the challenge should he draw an early start.

“I wouldn’t have minded playing during the day – I hope I survive under those conditions too,” he said.

“If you want to get to the top, you’ve got to be able to play in all conditions, but sure it has helped to play now rather than during the day.”

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