STUTTGART, June 13, 2018
Roger Federer‘s comeback to the courts headlined Wednesday’s action at the MercedesCup in Stuttgart. In his first match since 24 March 2018 in Miami, the 36-year-old Swiss came back from a set down to overcome Mischa Zverev from Germany 3-6, 6-4, 6-2 to advance to the quarterfinals.
After a bit of a rusty start, Federer needed some time to find into his game. The Goat on grass with a 164-24 liftetime record before this encounter, also faced a tricky opponent. Zverev looked solid on his own serve until Federer gained the decisive break in the fourth game of the final set with a nice backhand passing shot down the line. The World No. 2 secured victory in one hour and 33 minutes.
“Three months is a long time. So I am happy returning on good terms. Mischa connected well, I got behind but then I found my rhythm and I am very happy how I played,” Federer was pleased afterwards.
“It feels good to win again, as I lost my last two matches on the tour,” the Swiss added.
“I hope for a bit more sunshine but at least it is dry and I am close to home so I enjoy my stay here in Stuttgart.”
Defending champion Lucas Pouille also booked his spot in the stage of the final eight. The No. 2 seed from France ends 17-year-old Rudolf Molleker‘s run, winning 6-3, 6-4 in the last match on Centre Court.
Earlier in the day, Indian qualifier Prajnesh Gunneswaran earned his first main draw match win on the ATP World Tour, knocking out Canadian young gun Denis Shapovalov 7-6, 2-6, 6-3. The 28-year-old from Chennai won one point more than his opponent to prevail after one hour and 49 minutes. Next up for Gunneswaran will be Argentine Guido Pella.
Marterer wins first match on grass
Maximilian Marterer rallied past Croatian lucky loser Viktor Galovic 3-6, 6-4, 6-1 to set a second round clash with No. 4 seed Nick Kyrgios.
“I felt some problems to switch from clay to grass. The first match is always a bit difficult,” Marterer explained his bumpy start into the encounter. “I tried to focus on my serve and played better in the decisive situations, which was key.”
Marterer won his very first match on grass as a professional, although he made it to the stage of the final four at junior’s level in Wimbledon 2013. “I hope to play a couple of more matches here, where I also competed in doubles. Next week, I will play in Halle and then I entered the tournament in Antalya, but we will see.”
Benoit Paire, wearing sweat pants over his tennis shorts during his opening round match due to chilly conditions in Stuttgart, fought past #NextGenATP US-American Taylor Fritz 6-7, 6-3, 6-2. The 29-year-old Frenchman will next play No. 3 seed Tomas Berdych.
Milos Raonic defeated Mirza Basic 7-6, 6-2. The No. 7 seed from Canada fired 15 aces in his MercedesCup debut, finishing the encouter after one hour and 23 minutes. Raonic will next face Marton Fucsovics of Hungary.
Photo Gallery (by Florian Heer)