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Federer kicks off 2014 by downing Nieminen

ESPN staff
January 1, 2014 « Silva: When can I train? | Chartbeat test »
Roger Federer faces Australian Marinko Matosevic in the last eight © Getty Images
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Roger Federer got his 2014 season underway with a 6-4 6-2 win over Jarkko Nieminen to advance to the Brisbane International quarter-finals.

Federer worked with Stefan Edberg in the off-season and will use the six-time grand slam winner as a coach in Melbourne at the Australian Open.

"I've been serving OK, my forehand is going well, my movement is OK, I'm seeing the ball OK," said Federer. "I expect to play a bit better in the next match, even though today was already very good for a first match in so many weeks."

In the decisive game of the first set, Federer fought from 40-0 down to take the next five points and break Nieminen to lead 3-2. Federer then broke Nieminen twice in the first three games of the second set on his way to a comfortable victory.

Federer now faces Australia's Marinko Matosevic, following his 5-7 7-6(3) 6-4. victory over Sam Querrey.

Marin Cilic secured a 7-5 7-5 win over Grigor Dimitrov as he continues his comeback from a doping ban.

Cilic is playing in only his second tournament since serving a four-month ban after a positive test for a banned stimulant in May. The ban was reduced from nine months after Cilic claimed he had not meant to take the substance, which he ingested in a glucose tablet that was bought at a pharmacy.

After the victory, Cilic said playing again "feels like a new beginning for me."

"I'm thinking about everything around myself in a different perspective," said Cilic. "I'm excited to be in the season and to play, to be back on the tour after all that misery last year."

Cilic now faces Kei Nishikori, who beat Australia's Matthew Ebden 6-2 6-2.

In the women's draw, Wimbledon finalist Sabine Lisicki pulled out with a stomach illness ahead of her second-round match against Stefanie Voegele. Maria Sharapova also received a bye into the last eight after Australian teenager Ashleigh Barty withdrew from the competition because of a leg injury.

Angelique Kerber moved into the quarter-finals after Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova retired due to a left leg injury. Kerber had been leading 6-2 4-3.

Victoria Azarenka secured a 6-3 6-1 win over Casey Dellacqua to cap off the night session and ensure the top five seeds reached the last eight.

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