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MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Defending champion Roger Federer admitted he was lucky to escape with a victory at the Australian Open on Wednesday, edging Gilles Simon 6-2, 6-3, 4-6, 4-6, 6-3 in the second round.
Early on it seemed as if Simon, who had beaten Federer in their only two previous meetings, would send the Swiss star packing out of a Grand Slam before the third round for the first time since the French Open in 2003 — a total of 31 majors.
Simon is one of only three players on the ATP Tour to hold a winning record against Federer, whose victory came on a day when one of the other stars of the tournament — fourth-seeded Venus Williams — nearly had to withdraw with a hip injury after the first set of her match. Williams recovered to advance to the third round with a 6-7 (6), 6-0, 6-4 win over Sandra Zahlavova of the Czech Republic.
The usually reserved Federer pumped his fist in celebration with each point in the final few games. He broke Simon's service in the sixth game of the deciding set to go up 4-2, held his service to go up 5-2, then held his serve two games later to clinch it with an ace on his fifth match point.
"I remained positive ... it paid off. I got lucky. I'm happy I'm still in the tournament," Federer said.
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