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Feds and Murray back to winning ways

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Originally published on: 26/02/10 11:30

Vintage performances they may not have been, but Roger Federer and Andy Murray made winning returns in California, cruising into the third round of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells.

Federer, who announced earlier this week that he and girlfriend Mirka Vavrinec are expecting their first child this summer, beat Marc Gicquel 7-6(4) 6-4 in his opening match after a bye in the first round.

The No.2 seed, playing for the first time since withdrawing from Dubai and the first round of Davis Cup due to back problems, said he felt ‘rusty’ but okay – a modest assessment after hitting 12 aces and winning 92% of his first serve points.

I was happy, he said. A bit rusty maybe, coming back from not having played. But it was okay. Im happy Ive won – thats always most important.

The Swiss could be set for a 20th career final meeting against top seed and world No.1 Rafael Nadal next weekend, their first meeting since the Australian Open final. But to set up a showdown with the Spaniard, he may well face world No.4 Murray in the semi-finals.

The No.4 seed, who like Federer is returning to court after being laid low by a virus, wasnt at his best but still beat Albert Montanes 7-5 6-3 in their second round match.

And like Federer, Murray said that the heavy early season schedule after a tough off-season had caught up with him.

I saw that I wasnt going to play my best tennis and it would be dumb to think like that, Murray said. I thought I moved great, the best I had moved in quite a while. I wasnt hitting the ball particularly well, but I moved well.”

Federer now faces Ivo Karlovic after the big-serving Croat beat Sergiy Stakhovsky 6-4 6-2, while Murray faces Paul-Henri Mathieu, a second round winner over Potito Starace. No.11 seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga also advances, beating Teimuraz Gabashvili 7-5 6-3.

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