Defending champ Federer wins in Madrid

Madrid, May 7 (EFE).- Defending champion Roger Federer of Switzerland won his opening match Tuesday at the Mutua Madrid Open 6-3, 6-3 over Czech Radek Stepanek.

The 31-year-old Federer, who won the title in Madrid in 2006, 2009 and 2012, took his eighth straight match against Stepanek and pushed his career record against the Czech to 12-2.

Federer had not played since March 15, when Spain's Rafael Nadal beat him 6-4, 6-2 in the quarterfinals of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, California.

The world No. 2, who was hobbled by a back injury in his match against Nadal, took an eight-week break from the tour, skipping the Masters 1000 events in Miami and Monte Carlo.

Federer, who has won 17 Grand Slam titles, is trying to become the first player to win consecutive titles in Madrid.

The Swiss great's next opponent will be the winner of the match between Japan's Kei Nishikori and Serbia's Victor Troicki.

The tennis season's nine ATP World Tour Masters 1000 events rank only below the four Grand Slam tournaments and the season-ending ATP World Tour Finals in terms of ranking points and prestige.