Federer wins opener in Basel
Roger Federer scored a 7-5, 6-3 win over Benjamin Becker in the first round of the Swiss Indoors Basel.
Federer was down a break in the second set but broke Becker three times in total to win in 88 minutes.
"He did well," Federer said of Becker. "He did serve well when it was important, so credit to him. When I did have my small chances, I hope I could’ve done a little bit better, but overall I’m still very happy with tonight’s performance.
"Ever since my first win here, the pressure has actually gone instead of increased, in my opinion," he shared. "I feel I can come here and just perform, enjoy and try my best. It’s pretty simple, actually, the approach.
"I know if I lose, I lose points, but I’ve so long gone over this hurdle of having to defend points and this whole rankings system - I know how it works, so it doesn’t really consume me. For me it’s all about trying to play my best, enjoy the crowd and show them what I got. Coming back [to Basel] as the World No. 1 is an amazing feeling, so I think more of that than the pressure of having to win or having to defend or having to win again."
Federer, the defending champion who is seeking his sixth Basel title in seven years, served 10 aces.
The Swiss is heavily favored after Andy Murray pulled out with a back injury on Friday.
In other matches, third-seeded Richard Gasquet of France rallied past Robin Haase of the Netherlands 4-6, 6-3, 6-2; Julien Benneteau of France beat Russia's Andrey Kuznetzov 4-6, 6-3, 6-3; and Polish qualifier Lukasz Kubot defeated Lukas Lacko of Slovakia 6-4, 6-4.