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Roger Federer opens Australian Open defence in scintillating fashion

Defending champion Roger Federer put down an early marker as he breezed past Aljaz Bedene in straight sets to launch his Australian Open campaign on Tuesday.
The Swiss second seed, bidding for a 20th Grand Slam title after claiming his 18th here last year and 19th at Wimbledon, came through on Rod Laver Arena with a 6-3 6-4 6-3 victory lasting an hour and 39 minutes.
Federer broke Bedene's serve in the fourth game of the first set in which he conceded only three points on his serve.
He pounced immediately at the start of the second to gain another break and cantered through the rest of the match against the former British player who he had never played before.
Federer, who next faces German Jan-Lennard Struff, said: "I was thinking back a lot about what happened last year so walking out here again is an amazing feeling and hopefully I can keep that going for a little bit longer."
The 36-year-old admitted he fears he is in for disappointment this year after the supreme high of 12 months ago, when he defeated Rafael Nadal in an epic five-set final.
"Last year was so good I'm just worried I know it won't be," he said. "Guys are coming back, Rafa seems to be in tip-top shape. But last year will always be in the vault."
Austrian fifth seed Dominic Thiem had a trouble-free straight sets win over Argentina's Guido Pella.
Thiem, whose build-up to the year's opening Grand Slam was disrupted by a lingering virus, downed the 56th-ranked Pella 6-4 6-4 6-4 to set up a meeting with American qualifier Denis Kudla in the second round.
And Juan Martin del Potro shrugged off his disappointing Auckland Classic final defeat to Roberto Bautista Agut at the weekend by flattening American youngster Frances Tiafoe 6-3 6-4 6-3 to set up a meeting with 21-year-old Karen Khachanov from Russia.


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