Federer claims first win of grass-court season

Federer claims first win of grass-court season”

Roger Federer sent a resounding message about his Wimbledon chances by swatting aside Yuichi Sugita in just 52 minutes at the Gerry Weber Open in Halle.

Federer cruised past lucky loser Yuichi Sugita 6-3 6-1 in the first round, providing the flawless response to a shock defeat against Tommy Haas in Stuttgart last week.

Federer was scheduled to face Lu Yen-hsun on Tuesday but the 33-year-old pulled out with an arm injury, meaning that Sugita was thrust into the main draw.

Only Jimmy Connors has accumulated more Tour-level wins than the Swiss with 1,256, and the 18-time major victor - whose second-round opponent will be Mischa Zverev, a 6-4 6-4 victor against Lukas Lacko - is looking forward to adding to his tally. The 35-year-old Swiss won the Miami Open and went on hiatus.

"A comeback is never simple, especially on grass where margins are so slim", Federer, who sat out the entire claycourt season to prepare his bid for an eighth Wimbledon crown, was quoted as saying by the ATP website.

A single break in the first set proved enough for Federer - an eight-time champion in Halle - to open up an advantage he never looked in danger of relinquishing, his impressive groundstrokes making life extremely hard for the Japanese.

Japanese tennis player Kei Nishikori was made to work by well-known veteran Fernando Verdasco but ultimately got through.

The third-seeded Japanese player saved nine of the 10 break points he faced to win in under 2 1/2 hours for a second-round meeting against Karen Khachanov of Russian Federation.

Next up for Nishikori will be promising Karen Khachanov, who beat France's Gilles Simon on Tuesday to reach round-two at Halle.

The fourth-seeded Alexander Zverev, Mischa Zverev's younger brother, had no problems against Paolo Lorenzi, winning 6-3, 6-2 in just under an hour.

Australia's Bernard Tomic was the one who concluded Tommy Haas' last campaign at the Gerry Weber Open.

Also, Florian Mayer defeated Benoit Paire 6-0, 6-4.

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