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Federer has easy start to hard court campaign

By Steve Keating

TORONTO (Reuters) - Roger Federer launched his North American hard court campaign and bid for an 80th career title in impressive style blowing past Canadian Peter Polansky 6-2 6-0 on Tuesday and into the third round of the Rogers Cup.

Seeing his first action since an epic five set loss to world number one Novak Djokovic in the Wimbledon final, Federer lacked sharpness at times but still barely worked up a good sweat on a balmy summer evening needing just 52 minutes to dispose of the Canadian wild card.

"I was happy, I started well and that's always helpful to play more freely," said Federer, a two-time winner this season. "I think I could have served better at times but other than that, already in practice I felt I was moving well.

"Didn't feel so good hitting the ball yet. Wasn't quite getting used to the surface and now the last few days have been much better and I'm happy that in the match it kind of all worked really well.

"For the start of a tournament it's never clear if that's going to be the case. I'm very relieved and just really pleased."

Federer, who will celebrate his 33rd birthday on Friday, has reached the final four times winning the title twice, and a Canadian hat-trick would give the second seeded Swiss a milestone 80th career title.

The 17-time grand slam winner sits third on the all-time title list behind only Ivan Lendl (94) and Jimmy Connors (109).

Third seed Stan Wawrinka made it a perfect evening for the Swiss as he rallied for a 4-6 6-3 7-6 (2) win over determined French qualifier Benoit Paire.

It was, however, a terrible day for the local contingent with all four homes grown players seeing action knocked out.

Vasek Pospisil, a semi-finalist in Canada a year ago who was playing his first match since losing Sunday's Citi Open final in Washington, fell 7-5 7-5 to 12th seeded Frenchman Richard Gasquet.

Joining Pospisil and Polansky at the exit were compatriots Frank Dancevic, a 5-7 6-0 6-3 loser to American Donald Young and Brayden Schnur, who dropped a 6-3 6-3 decision to Italy's Andreas Seppi.

Latvian 11th seed Ernest Gulbis had smooth passage on another stormy day at the Rexall Tennis Centre easing past Portugal's Joao Sousa 6-3 6-4 while Italian 16th seed Fabio Fognini strolled past Russian Mikhail Youzhny 6-2 6-4.

Australian teenager Nick Kyrgios claimed another career first with an opening round 7-6 (3) 7-5 decision over Colombia's Santiago Giraldo to set up a second round meeting with twice grand slam winner Andy Murray.

The victory was Kyrgios' first at the ATP World Tour Masters level but what the 19-year-old lacks in experience he more than makes up for in confidence, announcing himself ready to take on Murray, the eighth seed and a two-time Canadian champion.

In fact, it may be Murray casting a cautious eye in Kyrgios's direction after watching the Australian beat world number one Rafa Nadal and number 14 Richard Gasquet on his unlikely march into the Wimbledon quarter-finals.

(Editing by Frank Pingue/Greg Stutchbury)

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