Federer Aims to Hold Top Rank in Halle Open

Roger FedererRoger Federer

Roger Federer on Monday flew to Halle to start his second consecutive week on grass but will have to fight for a second straight German title if he is to enter Wimbledon as top seed.

The weekend winner of the Stuttgart Cup, who owns nine titles in Halle, prepares to start in the first round of Halle Open in in Halle, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany, against Aljaz Bedene, AFP wrote.

The 20-time Grand Slam champion moved back to the top spot through his Stuttgart semifinal place. But to stay ahead of rival Rafael Nadal he must now win the Halle trophy according to ATP calculations.

That is just fine for the Swiss tennis player, confident in his game after claiming his 98th career title on Sunday over Milos Raonic.

Japan’s Kei Nishikori had to fight through a tiebreaker to start his grass season with a win as he beat Matthias Bachinger.

The seventh seed who has twice played semifinals at the event, worked for just under 90 minutes to beat his 159th-ranked German opponent 6-3, 7-6 (7/3) and reach the second round.

Yuichi Sugita made it a Japanese double into the second round, beating wild card Maximillian Marterer 6-4, 5-7, 6-3 after two and a quarter hours while holding off a dozen aces from the German.

Nishikori, a former top 10 regular now ranked 27th after wrist injuries last season, was joined as a winner by fourth seeded Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut, who beat the second German on the day, putting out Jan-Lennard Struff 6-4, 6-1.

Dutchman Robin Haase provided early drama with his 4-6, 7-5, 6-4 comeback victory over Portugal’s Joao Sousa.

Federer, who won in Stuttgart on Sunday, returned to Germany after a rapid visit to Switzerland.

The 36-year-old raced home by car Sunday night from southern Germany to watch Switzerland draw Brazil 1-1, then flew to Halle on Monday to prepare for his opening match.


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