Federer Wins Again In Halle
Swiss wins his Halle opener
Dominic Thiem remained undefeated on grass this season with a 7-5, 6-4 win over Joao Sousa of Portugal on Wednesday in Halle. Thiem won 75 per cent of his service points and erased the only break point he faced in the first-round win.
The Austrian, No. 7 in the Emirates ATP Rankings, won the MercedesCup in Stuttgart on Monday in a rain-delayed final. He next will face Russian Teymuraz Gabishvili, who beat Italian Paolo Lorenzi 6-1, 6-4.
Eight-time champion Roger Federer recorded his 52nd win at the Gerry Weber Open with a 6-4, 7-6(3) win over German wild card Jan-Lennard Struff.
Top seed Federer is now looking to reach his 14th quarter-final in as many appearances in the German city. Federer next will face Tunisian Malek Jaziri. The World No. 3 won their prior FedEx ATP Head2Head meeting in three sets at the 2013 Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships.
The Swiss defended well early against the unintimidated 26 year old aiming for an upset. Federer also converted just enough break points – one – and held serve throughout the match to move into the second round.
“It was hard to find a rhythm against Struff today. He took the ball early, went for a lot on the forehand, backhand. He has a big serve, especially the first one,” Federer said. “So then you go back to basics, you focus on your own serve. I thought I did that very well. He never really had chances on my own serve, so that was comforting.”
The first-round contest was just Federer's 19th match of the season as he's struggled with a back injury and endured knee surgery in February. But the Swiss star's movement looked unhampered. He darted from side to side and approached the net against Struff, who entered the match with a 3-9 record on grass, compared to Federer's 144-21.
Federer broke in the match's seventh game and later served out the first set. The two exchanged service holds in the second until Federer pulled away in the tie-break.
“I feel after the first round, after having played last week [in Stuttgart], actually maybe something is really possible here. I don’t want to get too carried away but I feel like if I serve the way I did today and I’m able to step it up just a little bit on the return from the baseline, all of a sudden I’m dangerous for anybody,” Federer said. “We’ll see how it goes. But I take one match at a time and I hope just to keep on playing a bit better match by match.”
Federer is aiming to capture his ninth title in Halle. He has yet to win a title in the 2016 ATP World Tour season, his longest drought to start a year since he went title-less in 2000.
Federer In Halle - By The Numbers
0 sets lost en route to titles in 2004 and 2008
4 match points saved in 2006 QF win over Olivier Rochus
5 losses (Michael Chang, Patrick Rafter, Nicolas Kiefer, Lleyton Hewitt, Tommy Haas)
8 titles (most of any tournament)
13 straight wins from 2013 to present
13 QFs or better in 13 tournament appearances
18 years old during tournament debut in 2000
20 wins over German opponents
29 consecutive wins from 2003 through 2010
52 victories (most in tournament history)