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Federer: Davydenko can do a lot of damage

ESPN staff
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Roger Federer was in ominous form as he sailed past Benoit Paire in straight sets on Tuesday © AP
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Roger Federer admits second round opponent Nikolay Davydenko has the potential to cause an upset at the Australian Open.

Davydenko, a former world No. 3, has struggled for form since breaking his wrist in early 2010 but has started the season brightly with a final appearance at the Qatar Open.

Federer boasts a 17-2 record against the Russian, but a series of close encounters, including two hard-fought Australian Open quarter-finals (2006 and 2010) means the 17-time grand slam champion is taking nothing for granted.

Speaking after his 6-2 6-4 6-1 first-round victory over Benoit Paire, Federer admitted he expects his next opponent, ranked at No. 40 in the world, to present a greater challenge.

"Obviously Nikolay, I know him [well]," Federer said. "He's my age. He played, I don't know, maybe 15 times. I played him at a time when he wasn't also in his best streak and in his best years, really, and he was in the top four or top five for a long time.

"I played him in the semis of the grand slams and at the World Tour Finals when he beat me. Then he got me again in Doha, and I played him here the following week where it was a very difficult draw for me to have and I found a way. You always have to expect that Davydenko, and not the one who's not been playing so well.

"It was two years ago I think he really struggled with his serve, but seems like he's coming back around. I had a very close match with him in Rotterdam last year. I should have won in two; ended up being 4-4, 0-40 in the third. I was very close to losing. Next thing you know, nobody talks about it. I went on to win the tournament and nobody talks about Nikolay.

"So it's nice to see him playing well again. And if I do play well against him, you're aware that he is a top player who can do a lot of damage. I better be well prepared and play well."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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