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Federer Wins Comeback Match At Tennis Masters


World number-one Roger Federer of Switzerland and Ivan Ljubicic of Croatia were the winners on day one of the season-ending Tennis Masters Cup tournament in Shanghai, China. Chris Bowers has this report from courtside.

All the attention was on whether Roger Federer's ankle, in which he tore tendons four-weeks ago, would hold up.

"A couple of weeks ago I was on crutches and now I am playing against the best in the world," he said. "So, you still occasionally think about it, but to be honest, I am very, very pleased with the way I played. Because coming back from the worst injury I have ever had - to come back and win a match at the Masters Cup, it is great."

The world number-one's main problem was more a ring-rustiness than his foot. The right ankle was protected by a heavy black bandage, which made him look as if he had mistakenly put on odd socks, but it did not play a part in the match.

What did was the amount of errors he made, and when Nalbandian opened up a 3-1 lead in the final set a defeat for the Swiss was in the cards. But a poor service game allowed Federer back, suddenly the backhand started to work, and Federer ran out a 6-3 2-6 6-4 winner.

Everyone can be happy with this result, even Nalbandian, for with the round-robin format, the set he won might yet prove crucial in deciding who reaches Saturday's semi-finals.

He is likely to be vying with the in-form Croat Ivan Ljubicic for a semi-final place, after Ljubicic beat Guillermo Coria 6-2 6-3. Coria complained that the surface was so fast it was like ice - Ljubicic said it may not have suited Coria's game, but it certainly is not fast.

"This is really not a fast court. I mean I can accept that the court does not suit his game," Mr. Ljubicic said. "Absolutely, because the topspin does not go up. I mean it is real difficult to move on the court because it is really sticky. But it is not fast."

Ljubicic plays his best tennis indoors and Coria his best outdoors, so the result was not a shock.

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