Federer Opens Halle Title Bid

Roger Federer (photo: NOVENTI OPEN/Mathias Schulz)

HALLE/STARNBERG, June 14, 2021

Swiss maestro Roger Federer made a winning start to his grass-court season by reaching the second round of the NOVENTI OPEN. The No. 5 seed of the ATP 500 event held at the OWL Arena in Halle, Westphalia, Germany, fought past qualifier Ilya Ivashka from Belarus 7-6(4), 7-5 on a sunny Monday afternoon.

Federer withstood eight aces and converted one of his four break-point chances to seal victory in one hour and 34 minutes.

“It was good. The first round here in Halle, I always find it is dangerous and it is hard to find any sort of rhythm. Especially against a bigger server who takes big cuts at the ball,” Federer said.

“But I thought I did well, stayed calm, focused, and played well in the tie-break and as the match went on, I started to get a better feel for his serve and created more opportunities, and felt I was getting there. I am happy to be back on the grass and the goal is to try and win again here.”

The 39-year-old hopes to capture a record-extending 11th Halle title, facing next either last week’s MercedesCup runner-up Felix Auger-Aliassime of Canada or Hubert Hurkacz from Poland.

“I feel it is very much a mindset playing on this surface. Here in Halle, with the courts protected by the roof, it is slippery and plays fast, so it is always a dangerous tournament to play,” Federer added.

“I was slipping on the second point so it is different, you can’t move as aggressively as maybe you’d like. It will be interesting to see how the top guys play. I am always excited to see how they handle these early two rounds in Halle.”

In other action, US-American young gun Sebastian Korda knocked out No. 6 seed Roberto Bautista Agut from Spain 6-3, 7-6(0). The 20-year-old Florida resident fired 13 aces and won 72 per cent of his first-service points to advance after one hour and 38 minutes. Korda will next take on the winner of the encounter between Kei Nishikori from Japan and Lithuanian qualifier Ricardas Berankis.

Australia’s Jordan Thompson defeated German wild card entry Daniel Altmaier 6-2, 7-6(4) to set a second-round clash with either No. 4 seed Andrey Rublev or his Russian compatriot Karen Khachanov.

Frenchman Corentin Moutet benefited from the retirement of No. 7 seeded Belgian David Goffin to reach the next round and will next play German veteran Philipp Kohlschreiber or Austria’s Jurij Rodionov, who appeared in his first semi-final on the ATP Tour in Stuttgart last week.

US-American Marcos Giron booked his place in the second round following a 7-6(4), 7-6(6) win over Vasek Pospisil from Canada. The 27-year-old qualifier secured victory in just under two hours of play and awaits the winner of the match between top seed Daniil Medvedev of Russia and Germany’s Jan-Lennard Struff.