MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Roger Federer opened the campaign for his 18th Grand Slam title by beating Benoit Paire 6-2, 6-4, 6-1 in the first round of the Australian Open on Tuesday.
The No. 2-seeded Federer dictated the match, sending his 23-year-old French opponent chasing balls around center court.
Down 3-0 in the third set, Paire tumbled and skidded into the net as he tried and failed to reach a shot.
Federer, 31, is bidding for his fifth Australian Open title.
The Swiss star landed in the same half of the draw as No. 3 Andy Murray, meaning they could potentially meet in the semifinals. Federer could face a final against top-ranked Novak Djokovic, who is aiming for a third consecutive Australian Open title.