Roger Federer had a good start to his Cincinnati title defense with a 6-3 7-6 win over Kohlschreiber. Considering his recent struggles I thought it was a good first match. Though he had difficulty once again with taking break points, as so often happens, he wasn't making all the puzzling errors that have been happening in so many matches this year (in the last couple tournaments due to an ailing back).
He was using his old 90" racquet again after using the larger 98" prototype for several weeks. Though some are disappointed with that decision, I think it's a wise one at this point. Due to the back injury he wasn't able to fully get comfortable with the new one. To go first into a tournament where he is defending champion with 1,000 points to defend and then into the all-important U.S. Open if he isn't feeling confident in it could prove to be disastrous. He already needs to gain confidence after not having as much success as he is used to, so he needs to go with what is comfortable and wait until a better time to hone in on the bigger sized racquet head post-U.S. Open.
His next match on Thursday will be either against good buddy Tommy Haas, who Roger has said he would like to play again, or against Marcel Granollers. This will be a good test for him to see where his game is at given that he may have a huge challenge coming up the next round if he and Rafa Nadal both get there. A win against Rafa would be a tremendous confidence builder, while another loss, especially on a hard court, would be difficult to take. I'm hoping for some big wins this week to bring him back to the level we know he is still capable of.