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Federer and Djokovic see off Italian threat

  • Story Highlights
  • Roger Federer launches Australian Open bid with win over Andreas Seppi
  • Swiss star Federer is seeking a record-equalling 14th Grand Slam crown
  • Defending champion Novak Djokovic of Serbia also beats unseeded Italian
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(CNN) -- Roger Federer launched his latest Australian Open campaign with a fighting straight sets win over unseeded Italian Andreas Seppi in Melbourne on Monday.

Roger Federer reacts after making a winning start to his bid for a record-equalling 14th Grand Slam crown.

Roger Federer reacts after making a winning start to his bid for a record-equalling 14th Grand Slam crown.

Seppi provided Switzerland's Federer with a stern test before the former world number one secured a 6-1 7-6 (4) 7-5 victory after 181 minutes as he chases a record-equalling 14th Grand Slam crown.

Federer needed just 24 minutes to take the opening set; was taken to a tie-break in the second before making a late breakthrough in the late slot.

"I had to get used to playing at night again and I struggled with my rhythm early on in the match but all-in-all I thought it was a good match," Federer told media.

"Seppi hits a good ball and is tough to play against. The second set was close and key to winning. I had to battle hard....and put in a defensive effort in the rallies. It's hard to find a weak spot in Seppi's game, forehand or backhand. He makes you run a lot."

Second-seeded Federer now faces qualifier Evgeny Korolev who beat former world number one Carlos Moya 6-3 6-1 7-6 (7).

Defending champion Novak Djokovic -- he accounted for Federer in the 2008 semifinals --was also made to work by an unseeded Italian on the opening day.

Andrea Stoppini gave the Serbian world number three a scare in the third set before Djokovic rallied to win 6-2 6-3 7-5.

"There is a pressure (being the defending champion)," Djokovic admitted. "But it didn't affect me today. I'm still trying to find the rhythm and slowly getting there. It is a different feel (coming in as champion), but I look at it as a challenge."

American Andy Roddick had a straightforward passage against Swedish qualifier Bjorn Rehnquist in the opening match at Rod Laver Arena, the seventh seed cruising through 6-0 6-2 6-2 in 106 minutes.

Roddick now meets Belgian Xavier Malisse who defeated Michael Llodra 7-6 6-1 6-1 while Russian Marat Safin (26) overcame a sore shoulder and Ivan Navarro 6-3 6-3 6-4 to set up a tie with Guillermo Garcia-Lopez.

Former finalist Marcos Baghdatis of Cyprus took more than two hours to defeat Julien Benneteau of France 6-3 7-6 (5) 6-2 to make a date with Robin Soderling.

Swedish 16th seed Soderling came from a set down to beat Robert Kendrick of the United States 5-7 6-4 6-4 7-5.

Shooting star Juan Martin del Potro, the eighth-seeded Argentine, dispatched Germany's Mischa Zverev 6-3 6-4 6-2; Czech Thomas Berdych (20) won 6-4 6-4 6-3 against Robby Ginepri whose U.S. compatriotof Mardy Fish (23) recovered from a set down to defeat Australian Samuel Groth 6-7 (3) 6-4 7-5 6-0.

Swiss Stanislas Wawrinka (15) rebounded from his loss to Federer in the final in Kooyong to defeat Czech Ivo Minar 6-1 2-6 7-5 7-6 (9), while Croatian 19th seed Marin Cilic also needed four sets to get past South African Kevin Anderson 6-3 6-2 6-7 (4) 6-3.

One seed to fall was 27th-ranked Spaniard Feliciano Lopez who lost to Gilles Muller of Luxembourg 6-3 7-6 (5) 4-6 4-6 16-14 in four hours 23 minutes.

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