KEY BISCAYNE, Fla. (AP) — Roger Federer made a victorious return Friday to the Sony Open after skipping last year's tournament, and then was treated to a tribute on the stadium video screen.
"It looks like a farewell video," Federer told the crowd with a giggle. "I miss one year, and you make me feel guilty."
Federer is back, as he showed by beating big-serving Ivo Karlovic 6-4, 7-6 (4). Federer lost just three service points against his 6-foot-11 opponent, and in a match with few rallies, he committed only three unforced errors.
Three-time champion Novak Djokovic followed Federer onto the stadium court and into the third round, beating Jeremy Chardy 6-4, 6-3. Defending champion Andy Murray, playing for the first time since he parted with coach Ivan Lendl, rallied from a break down in the third set to beat Matthew Ebden 3-6, 6-0, 6-1.
Another three-time champ, Venus Williams, defeated Anna Schmiedlova 6-3, 6-3. Williams, the oldest player in the women's draw at 33, is competing at Key Biscayne for the 15th time.
"It's good to be here still as an oldster," Williams said.
The 32-year-old Federer has looked rejuvenated recently, and was the runner-up to Djokovic last week at Indian Wells. Federer says his new racket gives him more power, and he is moving as he did in the old days.
After falling out of the top five last year for the first time since 2002, Federer returned to No. 5 this week. He led from the start against Karlovic, making the surprising choice to receive after winning the toss and earning the lone break of the match in the opening game.
"I just felt like, you know, let him go first and see how it goes," Federer said. "It worked well today because I got the early break right away. That relaxed me for the rest of the first set clearly, but still he hung around."
While Federer had trouble with serves from Karlovic that peaked at 138 mph, the Croat had no chance when returning. Federer won 49 of his 52 service points.
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