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Federer bounces back at Halle Open

InternationalFederer bounces back at Halle Open

HALLE: Roger Federer bounced back from his surprise first-round defeat in Stuttgart last week with a 6-3, 6-1 win over Yuichi Sugita of Japan in the opening round of the Halle Open on Tuesday.

It was the Swiss great’s 1,100th career victory.

Federer, who was upset by German veteran Tommy Haas on his return from a two-month break last Wednesday, hit eight aces and converted five of his 13 break opportunities to beat the 66th-ranked Sugita in 52 minutes.

Sugita, who lost in the qualifiers, was playing in place of Lu Yen-hsun, who withdrew with a right arm injury.

Federer, an eight-time champion in Halle, continues his bid for his 16th grass-court title against Germany’s Mischa Zverev, who beat Slovakian qualifier Lukas Lacko 6-4, 6-4.

The win over Sugita was Federer’s first since early April, when he skipped the clay-court season to recuperate from a busy start to the year that included his 18th Grand Slam at the Australian Open. The 35-year-old Swiss won the Miami Open and went on hiatus.

Kei Nishikori toiled for his opening grass-court victory of the year, beating Fernando Verdasco 6-7 (7), 6-3, 6-4.

The third-seeded Japanese player saved nine of the 10 break points he faced to win in under two and a half hours for a second-round meeting against Karen Khachanov of Russia.Federer

Khachanov defeated Gilles Simon of France 6-2, 6-7 (2), 6-3.

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.

Haas’ final appearance at the tournament was brief as he lost to Bernard Tomic 6-4, 6-4. The 39-year-old Haas, who made his Halle debut 20 years ago and won it twice, plans to retire at the end of the season.

The sixth-seeded Lucas Pouille of France rallied to beat Germany’s Jan-Lennard Struff 1-6, 6-3, 6-4.

The seventh-seeded Roberto Bautista Agut beat Carlos Berlocq 6-0, 4-6, 6-2, Robin Haase defeated David Ferrer 3-6, 7-5, 6-3, and Florian Mayer defeated Benoit Paire 6-0, 6-4.

Also, Mikhail Youzhny, who had beaten Sugita in qualifying, defeated Ivo Karlovic 6-3, 7-6 (6).

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