Halle Westfalen - Roger
Federer began his last week of pre-Wimbledon competition with a 6-3,
6-4 defeat of Slovene Aljaz Bedene on Tuesday to reach the second round
of the ATP Halle grass event.
The world number one needs to lift a record 10th title here on Sunday
in order to remain at the summit of the rankings and assure himself the
top seeding at Wimbledon starting a week from Monday.
"I got out of the box well, I felt good right away," Federer said.
"This is an easier court to play than last week in Stuttgart.
"The ball bounces up higher into my strike zone. I was connecting well on returns and I could read his serve.
"I played a solid first set once I figured out how to break him. In the second I was able to hold all of my serves.
"For a first round and without much play on this court, It was fine, I'm very happy."
Federer's straightforward victory in 71 minutes marked his 17th
straight on the grass dating to June, 2017, when he lost in Stuttgart to
The Halle defending champion, who has a laneway leading to the
stadium named in his honour, has won exactly half of his 18 grass
trophies at the wooded north German venue.
Federer took back the top ranking from Rafael Nadal for the second
time this season last week in Stuttgart as he returned to competition
for the first time in three months after avoiding the clay season to
prepare fully for the grass.
The 36-year-old Swiss got off to an early break in the opening set
against the 72nd-ranked Bedene, who briefly played for Britain.
The top seed swept up the set and finished off the win after breaking
for 5-4 in the second set. The Swiss delivered a one-two finishing
punch of backhand down the line and forehand winner to advance with
He fired seven aces and never faced a break point; he next plays
Benoit Paire, who defeated American Steve Johnson 7-5, 7-6 (7/5).
Home fans experienced disappointment as second seed Alexander Zverev
fell easily to Croatian Borna Coric 6-1, 6-4, with the German going
down in less than 90 minutes on four breaks of serve.
Zverev, the third seed, had lost the last two finals here, going down
to Federer a year ago and exiting at the hands of compatriot Florian
Meyer in 2016.
Zverev had complained about being worn down at the French Open and he
won three five-set matches in succession before losing to Dominic Thiem
in the quarter-finals.
A week of rest and a light grass training schedule were apparently not enough to revitalise the world number three.
Home fans were pleased, though, as Philipp Kohlschreiber advanced
4-6, 6-3, 2-1, with Hungarian opponent Marton Fucsovics unable to
continue after hurting his left thigh in a fall on the grass.
Kohlschreiber, who lost in last week's Stuttgart first round, was more pleased with his performance here.
"Today was definitely an improvement," the German said. "The quality was higher and I felt better on court.
"It's a pity that the match ended as it did. It was a tough fight, I wish him a good recovery as soon as possible."
Kohlschreiber was joined in the second round by compatriot Florian
Mayer, who upset last weekend's champion in the Netherlands Richard
Gasquet, the eighth seed, 6-2, 6-2.
Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas stepped onto the grass and emerged with a defeat of Frenchman Lucas Pouille 6-2, 7-6 (7/3).
Russian Karen Khachanov put out Mischa Zverev 7-6 (7/5), 6-3 while
Australian Matt Ebden overwhelmed Tunisia's Malek Jaziri 6-0, 7-6
Results at the ATP tournament in Halle on Tuesday (x indicates seed):
Roger Federer (SUI x1) bt Aljaz Bedene (SLO) 6-3, 6-4
Benoît Paire (FRA) bt Steve Johnson (USA) 7-5, 7-6 (7/5)
Matthew Ebden (AUS) bt Malek Jaziri (TUN) 6-0, 7-6 (7/2)
Philipp Kohlschreiber (GER x6) bt Márton Fucsovics (HUN) 4-6, 6-3, 2-1 abandoned
Stefanos Tsitsipas (GRE) bt Lucas Pouille (FRA x5) 6-2, 7-6 (7/3)
Karen Khachanov (RUS) bt Mischa Zverev (GER) 7-6 (7/5), 6-3
Florian Mayer (GER) bt Richard Gasquet (FRA x8) 6-2, 6-2
Andreas Seppi (ITA) bt Matteo Berrettini (ITA) 6-3, 7-5
Borna Coric (CRO) bt Alexander Zverev (GER x2) 6-1, 6-4