Federer was too good for Khachanov, making it two straight-sets wins from as many singles matches this week. AFP / TONY ASHBY
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Roger Federer took another impressive step toward his Australian Open title defense Tuesday with a straight-sets win over Russian Karen Khachanov at the mixed teams Hopman Cup, as many of his main rivals faltered due to injury. Around the time Federer was warming up for his match with the 45th-ranked Russian, Andy Murray announced he was pulling out of the Brisbane International, while Novak Djokovic a few days earlier withdrew from his season opener in Abu Dhabi.There were no such dramas for the elder statesman Federer, who 12 months ago stunned the tennis world by ending an almost four-year Grand Slam drought with a victory at the Australian Open, after also preparing at the Hopman Cup.The 36-year-old was too good for Khachanov, making it two straight-sets wins from as many singles matches this week as Switzerland beat Russia 3-0 in their Group B tie in front of a record Hopman Cup crowd.
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