Federer makes winning return

World number two Roger Federer made a successful return since his Australian Open final defeat with a 7-6 (7/4) 6-4 win over Frenchman Marc Gicquel in the second round of the BNP Paribas Open.

World number two Roger Federer made a successful return since his Australian Open final defeat with a 7-6 (7/4) 6-4 win over Frenchman Marc Gicquel in the second round of the BNP Paribas Open.

Federer has been out of action since his defeat by Rafael Nadal in Melbourne with back problems, but the three-time Indian Wells champion needed just 84 minutes to beat world number 52 Gicquel.

Federer, 27, rained down 12 aces and won 92% of first serve points as Gicquel failed to even push the Swiss to a break point.

The 31-year-old Frenchman was only actually broken once in the second set but that proved crucial following a tight first in which neither players faced a break point.

Federer will now face big-hitting Ivo Karlovic in the third round after the Croat beat Sergiy Stakhovsky 6-4 6-2.

World number four Andy Murray also advanced to the third round with a hard-fought victory over Albert Montanes.

Murray, 21, battled through 7-5 6-3 in one hour and 36 minutes in his first singles match since being forced to withdraw before his quarter-final with Richard Gasquet in Dubai last month due to a virus.

Murray was broken in the third game of the match but levelled at 4-4 with one of his own before winning the opener after the Spaniard double faulted on set point in the 12th game.

In the second, 2007 Indian Wells semi-finalist Murray saved both break points he faced and broke the Spaniard in the eighth game before serving out to wrap up the win.

He will next face Paul-Henri Mathieu, who downed Italian Potito Starace 6-4 6-7 (13/11) 6-4 in two and a half hours.

The British number one has already won two titles this year in Rotterdam and Doha, with his only defeat of 2009 coming in the round of 16 at the Australian Open.

"I feel OK, I knew it was going to be a tough match," Murray told Sky Sports Xtra.

"He's a tough player, he makes a lot of balls and plays a lot closer to the baseline on hard courts than I've seen before on clay.

"I'm pretty happy with the way I came back after going a break down in the first set."

Tommy Robredo, the 15th seed, also made serene progress to round three with a routine 57 minute 6-1 6-4 win over Igor Kunitsyn, while Igor Andreev beat talented youngster Ernests Gulbis 6-4 6-4.

Robredo will next take on Marin Cilic after the Croat rallied to defeat Belgian Steve Darcis 6-(7/4) 6-2 6-1.

Fernando Verdasco, in his first tournament since reaching the semi-finals at the Australian Open, beat Brazilian qualifier Thomaz Bellucci 7-5 6-1, while Jo-Wilfried Tsonga won his ATP leading 22nd match of the season with a 7-5, 6-3 victory over Russian Teimuraz Gabashvili to set up a meeting with Andreev.

Richard Gasquet of France beat countryman Michael Llodra 6-4 6-0, while German Philipp Kohlschreiber advanced to the third round for the third time in the past four years with a 6-7 (5/7) 6-3, 6-3 win over lucky loser Olivier Patience.

Finally, Ecuadorian Nicolas Lapentti beat Robin Soderling 6-4 7-6 (9/7), while Ivan Ljubicic advanced after fellow Croat Mario Ancic was forced to retire due to illness in the first set.

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