Federer battles past Zemlja
Playing his first competitive match for almost three weeks, the Swiss defending champion struggled with his first serve in front of a capacity 10,500 crowd but he still completed victory in 58 minutes.
He won 10 straight points in the first set to take a 4-2 lead and from then on Federer allowed his opponent only two more games to wrap up his 10th straight win in Rotterdam.
Fourth seed Richard Gasquet joined the 17-times Grand Slam champion in the second round with a 7-6, 6-1 win over Serbia's Viktor Troicki.
Gasquet will next face Marcos Baghdatis who advanced after Benoit Paire pulled out injured. The Cypriot was leading 6-0, 6-7, 4-0. Gilles Simon, seeded fifth, and Julien Benneteau completed a good day for France. Simon eased past Italian qualifier Matteo Viola 6-3, 6-1 to reach the quarterfinal, while Benneteau also dropped just four games in his 6-1 6-3 win over Victor Hanescu.
Nadal out of doubles
Former world number one Rafael Nadal withdrew suddenly from the doubles at the Brazil Open on Wednesday because of what organisers said was a desire to preserve his strength for the singles competition. Just moments before he and David Nalbandian were due to play Horacio Zeballos and Oliver Marach on Wednesday, the pair withdrew.
Top seed Victoria Azarenka served up a ‘double bagle’ (6-0, 6-0) to Christina McHale of the United States to march into the third round of the Qatar Open on Thursday.
The Belarussian's world number one spot is under threat at the $2.3 million event where American Serena Williams and Russian Maria Sharapova can reclaim top spot. Eight seed Samantha Stosur posted a hard-fought 6-4, 7-5 win over Russia’s Svetlana Kuznetsova, while Caroline Wozniacki edged out Germany’s Mona Barthel 7-6 (6), 6-3.