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Federer survives scare to beat Krajinovic in Basel opener

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By Reuters
Federer survives scare to beat Krajinovic in Basel opener
FILE PHOTO: Tennis - Shanghai Masters - Men's Singles - Semi-finals - Qi Zhong Tennis Center, Shanghai, China - October 13, 2018. Roger Federer of Switzerland in action against Borna Coric of Croatia. REUTERS/Aly Song   -   Copyright  ALY SONG(Reuters)

(Reuters) – Top seed Roger Federer showed signs of ring rust in his first match at the Swiss Indoors on Tuesday but still had enough in the tank to push past unseeded Serbian Filip Krajinovic 6-2 4-6 6-4 and reach the last-16 in Basel.

Playing in front of his home fans Federer struggled to find his usual precision, racking up 38 unforced errors, but still managed some produced his usual array of dazzling winners in a contest which stretched just past the two-hour mark.

Next up for the world number three, an eight-time Basel champion, is Germany’s Jan-Lennard Struff, who beat Australian John Millman 7-6(3) 6-2.

In-form Russian seventh seed Daniil Medvedev also reached the last 16 by defeating German Maximilian Marterer 6-3 7-5.

Medvedev, winner of this month’s Japan Open as a qualifier, faces unseeded Italian Andreas Seppi next after he served up the day’s only bagel en route to beating Japanese qualifier Taro Daniel 6-0 6-4.

Australian teenager Alexei Popyrin claimed his first main draw victory on the ATP Tour as the qualifier got the better of a tussle with compatriot Matthew Ebden, winning 7-6(4) 6-4.

His prize could be a clash with second seed Alexander Zverev if the German gets past Dutchman Robin Haase.

(Reporting by Simon Jennings in Bengaluru)