Two ATP-500 tournaments, Halle’s Gerry Weber Open and Queen’s Club’s Aegon Championships are regarded by tennis players as preparatory events to the year’s third Grand Slam, the Wimbledon. The playing surface transition from clay to grass begins after Roland Garros and top stars use the period for testing themselves ahead of arguably the most coveted extravaganza in the game of tennis. After missing the French Open and several other tournaments, Roger Federer is back in the business and although he lost at Stuttgart, the Swiss has entered the quarterfinals of the Gerry Weber Open for an amazing 14th consecutive year. The eight-time Halle champion defeated Malek Jaziri of Tunisia on Thursday to set up a quarterfinal clash with Belgium’s David Goffin on Friday. At Aegon Championships in London’s famed Queens’ Club, Andy Murray has also reached the quarterfinals and looks set to win that tournament for the fifth time as he faces British wild card Kyle Edmund for a place in the semifinals.
Roger Federer will be aiming for his ninth title victory at Gerry Weber Open. The Swiss superstar entered the quarterfinals on Thursday by defeating Tunisian Malek Jaziri 6-3, 7-5. After easily winning the first set in 29 minutes, Federer found Jaziri returning his service with aplomb in the second set. The Tunisian put Federer off-balance and led 3-0 at the start but Federer bounced back by breaking Jaziri’s service twice and took a 6-5 lead with his service to follow. It was all over in the next game of the 69-minute match.
Federer’s next opponent is Belgian no.5 seed David Goffin, who had a rather hard time against Ukraine’s Sergiy Stakhovsky. Goffin’s woes were cut short, when the Ukrainian retired due to a back problem in third set with scores reading 4-6, 7-5, 2-0 in the Belgian’s favor. Others reaching the round-of-eight at Halle were; Germany’s Philipp Kohlschreiber, Austria’s Dominic Thiem, Italian Andreas Seppi, German Florin Mayer, Cypriot Marcos Baghdatis and another German Alexander Zverev. Incidentally, Thiem and Kohlschreiber will play the quarterfinals in an intriguing repeat of their last week’s Mercedes Cup final at Stuttgart.
At the Aegon Championships in London, Andy Murray is already under the tutelage of the legendary Ivan Lendl and he entered the quarterfinal with a 6-3, 6-4 win over compatriot Aljaz Bedene. The score-line is deceptive since Bedene kept hitting the balls from the backcourt and the four-time Queen’s Club champion found it difficult to produce winners against someone with uncanny retrieving abilities. Lendl and Murray left for practice court soon after Murray’s victory, presumably for working out their Wimbledon strategies. On Friday, Murray will take on another Briton, Kyle Edmund, who entered the tournament as a wild card. Edmund had a walk-over against Frenchman Paul-Henri Mathieu, who withdrew before the match due to a wrist injury.
Milos Raonic, who also found a new coach in John McEnroe before the start of the grass season, entered the quarterfinals with a hard-fought 7-5, 7-6 victory over Czech Republic’s Jiri Vesely. Other Queen’s Club quarterfinalists on Thursday were Luxembourg’s Giller Muller, who saved 10 match points against USA’s John Isner before winning; Australia’s Bernard Tomic, who defeated Spain’s Fernando Verdasco; Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut, who beat USA’s Donald Young, Croatia’s Marin Cilic, who defeated Serbia’s Janko Tipsarevic and USA’s Steve Johnson, who triumphed over Frenchman Adrian Mannarino.
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