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Tennis: Federer a man on a mission at his home Gstaad

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Roger Federer will concentrate on both his own fitness and the state of his new prototype racquet as he makes his first appearance at the Swiss Open since winning it in 2004.

The top seed's first opponent after a bye will be German Daniel Brands on Wednesday, a player he beat in three sets in last week's first round.

Brands defeated Federer's longtime mate Marco Chiudinelli, a fellow Basel native, 6-3, 3-6, 6-2 to set up the re-match.

Federer, who has been playing since last week with a larger, 98-square-inch racquet after competing for most of his career with a 90-square-inch model, remains quietly confident that he will be able to make the big switch before travelling to Canada in little more than a week to prepare for the Montreal Masters.

"This racket will probably change over the next few months, we will keep tinkering with it," said Federer, working closely with his manufacturer. "I've tried a lot of models and this is the one I like the best.

"I'll play Gstaad with it and then we can look ahead. The plan for now is to continue with this racquet."

Federer is trying to put behind him his loss in the semi-final last week in Hamburg to Argentine qualifier Federico Delbonis, who put out holder and two-time champion Thomaz Bellucci of Brazil 7-5, 7-6 (7/2) in his opening Gstaad effort. .

"Gstaad is a special tournament with altitude (800 metres)," said Federer. "You can't come here for six weeks to get prepared.

"I'm coming in very relaxed, no-one has much experience on this clay but you can get used to it."

Federer nudged aside more queries about the state of his back, which occasionally bothers him and which appeared to be taped in Hamburg. He said: "Honestly, last week was not optimal, I couldn't play as free as I would have liked to do.

"But I just want to make a good preparation and am doing everything to be ready for my first match."

Four Spaniards advanced to the second round.

Eighth seed Robert Bautista Agut beat Swiss wild card Henri Laaksonen 6-2, 6-3 with the Finland-born youngster admitting that he put on a poor performance on the main showcourt.

Daniel Gimeno-Traver beat Frenchman Kenny De Schepper 6-4, 6-3 while Spain's Pablo Andujar crushed Victor Crivoi of Romania 6-1, 6-2, ending a five-match first-round losing streak going back to May in Paris.

Guillermo Garcia-Lopez completed the matched set with his win over Adrian Ungur of Romania 6-4, 6-7 (2/7), 6-1.

2008 winner Victor Hanescu defeated Germany's Dustin Brown 7-6 (8/6), 6-2 while Robin Haase stopped Brazilian Joao Souza 6-4, 7-6 (9/7).

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130723/tennis-federer-man-mission-at-his-home-gstaad