Basel, Switzerland – Five-time champion and Basel native Roger Federer was an opening-round winner Monday at the Swiss Indoors tennis event.
The world No. 1 superstar, playing his first match since losing to Andy Murray in the semifinals at the Shanghai Masters two weeks ago, handled German qualifier Benjamin Becker 7-5, 6-3 in 1 hour, 28 minutes on the indoor hardcourt at St. Jakobshalle.
Federer smacked 10 aces and was broken only once on Day 1.
The Swiss icon Federer beat Japan's Kei Nishikori for a second straight Basel title a year ago, also claimed championships from 2006-08 and was a Swiss Indoors runner-up in 2000, 2001 and 2009.
The Wimbledon champion Federer's second-round opponent will be last week's Moscow runner-up Thomaz Bellucci of Brazil or Japan's Go Soeda.
Meanwhile, third-seeded nifty Frenchman Richard Gasquet fought back to beat Dutchman Robin Haase 4-6, 6-3, 6-2. Haase swatted 13 aces in a losing effort.
Also on Monday, Polish qualifier Lukasz Kubot topped Slovak Lukas Lacko 6-4, 6-4 and France's Julien Benneteau overcame Russian qualifier Andrey Kuznetsov 4-6, 6-3, 6-3.
This week's second seed is last week's Vienna champion, Juan Martin del Potro, who is 0-6 against the top-seeded Federer this year.
The 2012 winner of this $1.84 million event will earn $440,000.