Federer tests back injury with win over Zverev

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Federer tests back injury  with win over Zverev
Roger Federer hits a return to Alexander Zverev at the Rome Masters on Wednesday.

Rome - Swiss maestro beats German teen sensation in Rome Masters

By Agencies

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Published: Wed 11 May 2016, 11:13 PM

Last updated: Thu 12 May 2016, 12:55 AM

Roger Federer made a winning return to the clay after last week's back pain, with the Swiss icon beating German teenager Alexander Zverev 6-3, 7-5 in the second round of the Rome Masters on Wednesday.
The match, lasting 89 minutes, was the first for the 34-year-old Swiss since losing a Monte Carlo quarterfinal to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga nearly a month ago.
The 17-time Grand Slam winner was due to play last week in Madrid but withdrew with back pain. He came to Rome early to train, drawing 6,000 fans to a weekend practice session.
He has laid low in recent days, declining pre-match media responsibilities as he waited to let his racquet speak for him and his current clay form. Federer is playing at the Foro Italico for the 16th time as he seeks his first title here. The Swiss has finished runner-up four times, most recently last year against Novak Djokovic.
Rome marks only the fourth tournament of the season for Federer, who underwent knee surgery in early February, the first operation of his career.
Victory over Zverev sent Federer's record in 2016 to 11-3. He next plays promising young Austrian 13th seed Dominic Thiem, who defeated Portugal's Joao Sousa 6-3, 6-2.
Top seed Novak Djokovic and number two Andy Murray produced no-drama victories, with the Serb beating Stephane Robert 7-5, 7-5 while Murray put out Kazakh Mikhail Kukushkin 6-3, 6-3.
In women's second-round play, Spanish third seed Garbine Muguruza crushed Russian Ekaterina Makarova 6-1, 6-0 while Madrid quarterfinalist Irina-Camelia Begu of Romania upset injured fourth seed Victoria Azarenka 6-3, 6-2.
The Belarusian withdrew last week from Madrid with back pain and was unable to fight off her Rome challenger after winning all five of their previous meetings.
Czech Barbora Strycova beat Britain's Heather Watson 6-4, 6-2, while Muguruza called her winning effort "a great match".
In the first of the second-round matches on Tuesday, Japanese sixth seed Kei Nishikori had to fight back from a set down to see off Serb Viktor Troicki 5-7, 6-2, 6-3.
Roland Garros holder Stan Wawrinka, the fourth seed in Italy, raced through the final two sets in beating Frenchman Benoit Paire 5-7, 6-2, 6-1.
Eighth seed Tomas Berdych cruised into round three with a 6-3, 6-4 victory over Albert Ramos of Spain. Serena Williams played her first match since late March in Miami, advancing to the third round after beating Anna-Lena Friedsam 6-4, 6-3. "It wasn't an easy match, and she's an up-and-coming player and she plays well," Serena said. 
21-time major champion Williams said.
"I was really happy with my level. I think I was really mentally consistent. "I started out fast. Those are some of the things I wanted to work on." 

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