MELBOURNE, Australia -- Defending champion Roger Federer admitted he was lucky to escape Wednesday with a victory at the Australian Open, edging Gilles Simon 6-2, 6-3, 4-6, 4-6, 6-3 in the second round.
Early on, it seemed as if Simon -- one of only three players on the ATP Tour to hold a winning record against Federer, beating him twice -- would send the Swiss star packing out of a Grand Slam before the third round for the first time since the French Open in 2003 -- a total of 31 majors.
But the usually reserved Federer pumped his fist in celebration with each point in the final few games. He broke Simon's service in the sixth game of the deciding set to go up 4-2, held his service to go up 5-2, then held his serve two games later to clinch it with an ace on his fifth match point.
"I remained positive ... it paid off. I got lucky. I'm happy I'm still in the tournament," Federer said.
"I wasn't playing poorly in the third and fourth set, but Gilles took it to me. Clearly, he's a great player first of all. Matches against him don't come easily ... hopefully we don't play each other anymore."
Simon said he needed "time to get used to [Federer's] game," which helped him win the third and fourth sets.
"It's going fast, he's moving fast, it's just impressive," Simon said. "There are not too many players able to play to this level."
He appeared comfortable all over the court against Croatia's
Dodig, who challenged Djokovic in the first two sets with a
powerful serve and strong baseline shots. Djokovic responded with
his own baseline winners into back corners on both sides, as well
as cross-court volleys on the rare occasion Dodig sliced to draw
him to the net.
Roddick reached the third round for the ninth straight time after beating Russian Igor Kunitsyn 7-6 (7), 6-2, 6-3.
Roddick, who had 17 aces, saved two set points in the first-set tiebreak, serving to even it at 6-6, then won on his first set point.
The American broke to go up 2-0 in the second set and avoided another service break in the fifth. He said he was finding his range.
"I think when you're confident, the court just makes sense; decisions come easier to you," Roddick said. "A lot of it comes naturally. There's not a whole lot of thought process. You're not forcing a lot. The ball kind of, I guess, reacts the way you want it to.
"So I feel comfortable out there right now."
It was Roddick's third straight win over Kunitsyn but his first on a hard court. The American beat Kunitsyn in the second round at Wimbledon in 2009.
Roddick's U.S. Davis Cup teammate Mardy Fish made a second-round
exit, the No. 16 seed losing 1-6, 6-3, 6-3, 6-3 to Tommy Robredo.
And ninth-seeded Fernando Verdasco rallied from two sets down to
beat Serbia's Janko Tipsarevic 2-6, 4-6, 6-4, 7-6 (0), 6-0,
conceding just one point on his serve in the last set.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.