Federer beats Soderling in Madrid

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Tennis players compete on new clay courts at the Madrid Masters on Tuesday.

MADRID - Roger Federer beat Swede Robin Soderling for the ninth consecutive time, earning a 6-1, 7-5 victory into the third round of the Madrid Masters on Tuesday.

The Swiss second-ranked player, who lost a Rome semi-final to Novak Djokovic and then practiced during private sessions earlier in May, adapted well to the new clay courts of the sports complex.

"I got off to a good start and that took away some of the pressure," said the 13-time Grand Slam winner. "He can be impossible to break, and at altitude the court is so much faster.

"I played well and had to get used to the conditions. I'd never seen the centre court until I stepped out though I saw the Lenny Kravitz concert on it last week - but the clay was not there."

Fourth place Andy Murray joined Federer in the third round as he beat Simone Bolelli of Italy, 7-6 (11/9), 6-4.

"I felt fairly good on the court; I hardly missed a ball the whole match. The first set was tough. I played some good points and overall was very happy with how I played," said the Scot.

Federer is aiming for his first title of the season and admits that winning Roland Garros for the first time is his current goal.

The Madrid event was switched from hard court in autumn to spring clay but drew complaints from players for new problems this week and the 500-metre altitude of the host city, in contrast to sea-level Paris.

Scott Williams / AFP / Expatica

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