Federer back on winning track after Halle opener

Roger Federer lost his first grass-court match of the season last week in Stuttgart, but he bounced back with a 6-3, 6-1 rout of Yuichi Sugita in the opening round of the Gerry Weber Open on Tuesday. Federer fired eight aces without double-faulting a single time to prevail in a mere 52 minutes.

“I played some good tennis–some nice points,” the 35-year-old Swiss assessed. “I played the way I wanted to play: aggressive, took charge from the baseline and served well. Overall, I’m very happy.”

Federer went up against Sugita after having previously been scheduled to meet Yen-Hsun Lu, but Chinese Taipei’s top player pulled out with an arm injury. Sugita’s lone highlight came when he stormed back from 40-0, triple match point down with Federer serving at 5-0 in the second set. The Japanese lucky loser, who lost in qualifying when Mikhail Youzhny converted his 12th match point, ended up breaking from out of nowhere. But Federer had no trouble returning the favor at 5-1 to clinch victory.

“I found out around the same time that everybody else did; around 12 o’clock,” Federer said. “Then I wasn’t sure if it was going to be Sugita or somebody else. I had to wait and see if there were going to be any more changes and a different opponent coming my way. I saw the third-set breaker between Sugita and Youzhny. I saw the last 20 points of that epic match.

“I had a little bit of an idea how [Sugita] plays. I’ve seen him practise here and he’s really made a run recently. I got some info from coaches and other players and coaches, so I got the full scouting report. But of course, I tried to play on my terms.”

This marks Federer’s 1,100th career match win on the ATP World Tour.

“[The milestone] was mentioned in Stuttgart but I had forgotten about it,” the 18-time major champion noted. “I appreciate these numbers way more today than ever before. I think I can embrace them more. It’s a big number and I’m very happy to have a chance to hopefully add some more wins to that number.”

Next up for Federer is a rematch of an Australian Open quarterfinal with Mischa Zverev.

6 Comments on Federer back on winning track after Halle opener

    • Nah, not so easy. There are still some good players awaiting him in the draw. I like Alex Zverev chances here at Halle.

      • Agree. Anyway, the main goal here is to warm up a bit, play with confidence and get in top 4 seeds at Wimbledon. Winning Halle is not a priority IMO.

  1. I didn’t see the match. Did Roger lose focus on match point (seems to be a bit of a pattern for him in recent years), or did Sugita just go crazy for a while?

  2. Fed can win here with his aggressive beauty, but if Nadal is at the opposite in Wimbledon, 2008 encore is waiting. It would be another heartbreak for Fed.

    • Being aggressive may not be enough, he may have to go against big bombs and big hitting later on.

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