From this year, the Gerry Weber Open has been categorized as an ATP500 event. The Halle Open is one of the seven grass-court events on ATP calendar and it serves as the tonic for Wimbledon preparations for the participants. Since its first edition in 1993, five Germans have won at Halle but the man, who has had a spectacular outing here; is Roger Federer. Having already won the tournament on seven occasions, Federer is trying it for the eighth time. However, the Swiss had an ominous start at the Gary Weber Open in getting away to a scary win against 2011 champion Philipp Kohlschreiber on Monday. Defending champion Federer had to play two tiebreaks against the German in the first and third sets and Kohlschreiber dominated the second set. Federer mixed some amazing shots with uncharacteristic errors and wasted opportunities in the final set before being stretched to his limits.
Seeking his eighth title in Halle, the celebrated Roger Federer had stuttering start in his first round match against Germany’s Philipp Kohlschreiber. The Swiss has won the same number of titles at Wimbledon as well and he always begins his preparation for year’s third Grand Slam at Halle. As per him, he got a tough draw this year in having to play Kohlschreiber in the first round. Be that as it may, the two of them engaged themselves and took the first set to the tiebreak, where Federer came out the winner against the tenacious German. In the second set, Federer began well but soon began committing errors, too unbecoming of his natural style of play. This allowed the German to take the second set 6-3. In the decider, Federer held an upper hand over Kohlschreiber but faltered, when he shouldn’t have. He wasted two match points at 5-4 and then trailed 3-5 in the tiebreak to yield a chance to Kohlschreiber, who could have served out for the match at that point. However, the German missed his bus, when he erred with a slice and slipped on court while trying to reach a shot. At 5-5 in the tiebreak, Kohlschreiber smashed too wide off the playing area and returned the next shot into the net. Federer survived to move further in the tournament to scrape through with a 7-6, 3-6, 7-6 victory.
In other first-round matches, Croatian teenager, Borna Coric defeated Donald Young of USA 6-4, 3-6, 6-3; Alajandro Falla of Colombia beat Slovakia’s Lukas Lacko 6-4, 3-6, 6-1; Dustin Brown of Germany prevailed over Austria’s Andreas Haider-Maurer 7-5, 6-2. Two other Germans also advanced to the next rounds. Florian Mayer defeated compatriot Jan-Lennard Struff 6-2, 0-6, 7-6 and Alexander Zverev defeated Finland’s Jarkko Niemann 6-4, 6-4.
Meanwhile in the doubles competition, last week’s Mercedes Cup winning pair of Rohan Bopanna of India and Florin Mergea of Romania, who are seeded second at Halle, defeated qualifiers Lukas Rosol of the Czech Republic and Sergiy Stakhovsky of Ukraine 2-6, 6-3, 10-8 in just under an hour. In another doubles match, Americans Eric Butorac and Scott Lipsky also moved ahead with a 7-6, 6-4 victory over no.3 seeds Austrian Julian Knowle and Canadian Vasek Pospisil.