BASEL, Nov 3 – Novak Djokovic made a winning debut on Tuesday at the Swiss Indoors as the Serbian claimed a 6-3, 7-5 victory over Andreas Beck in the tennis stronghold of Roger Federer.
Djokovic took just under 90 minutes to move into the second round at the St Jakobshalle, where top seed Federer got his start in the game a decade and a half ago as a ball boy at the indoor event.
Djokovic, who leads the ATP with 67 wins, said he feels the presence of Federer around the grounds.
"Of course in his hometown and home tournament, all of the attention will be on him," said the Serbian sporting hero. "But I’ve found it fine here.
"I hope to repay the kindness by going on the court and getting as far as possible this week."
The player whose only experience in Basel was a qualifying loss in 2004, couldn’t fault his opening main draw effort.
"For a first match (since Shanghai last month) I played well. My strokes were solid but I could have closed it out better in the second set."
Third-ranked Djokovic delivered ten aces to set up a second-round match with Czech Jan Hernych, who extended the misery of Australian qualifier Peter Luczak, who sank deeper into a rut with a third straight loss in the first round, 6-3, 6-4.
Swiss hopes fared well, with Marco Chiudinelli rallying from a final-set deficit to overhaul German eighth seed Philipp Kohlschreiber 7-6 (7/5), 3-6, 7-5.
The Swiss player, ranked 73 in the world, has seen a rise in his fortunes in recent months, reaching the third round of the US Open and also reaching the quarter-finals in Bangkok.
His Basel win in two-and-a-quarter hours was welcome as it ended a run of two successive first round exits in Shanghai and Vienna.
"It’s great to have some success at home in Basel," said Chiudinelli, "It was a tough match. "But I’m very fit right now and it hasn’t been that way for me during the last two years here.
"He (Kohlschreiber) really put me to the wall but I believed in myself and came through with the win. To win at home is perfect, I’m elated."
The Swiss pounded down 11 aces to 15 for his German opponent, with Chiudinelli saving ten of the dozen break points he faced.
The 28-year-old Chiudinelli, who is the third ranked Swiss singles player behind Federer and Stanislas Wawrinka, is making his fifth appearance in Basel, and has now earned his second victory win for a 2-4 record after winning his first match here in five years.
He has qualified seven times in 2009 on the ATP, including four in a row this fall (US Open, Bangkok, Tokyo and Shanghai).
Russian Evgeny Korolev advanced over Italy’s Simone Bolelli 3-6, 7-6 (7/4), 6-2, while Victor Troicki ended hope of Benjamin Becker 6-2, 7-6 (7/5).