Roger Federer eases into second round at Halle

Roger Federer celebrates after winning his match. (Friso Gentsch/dpa via AP)

HALLE WESTFALEN, Germany: Roger Federer eased into the second round of the ATP grass court tournament in Halle Monday with a straight sets win over qualifier Ilya Ivashka.

Federer, who turns 40 in August, had few problems in his first match this season on grass to seal a 7-6 (4), 7-5 first-round win over Belarusian Ivashka, ranked 90th in the world.

Federer, the fifth seed in Halle, will meet Canada's Felix Auger-Aliassime or Hubert Hurkacz of Poland in the second round.

"There is room for improvement, but I am happy with my first game here on grass. I feel good," said Federer, currently ranked eighth in the world, who is bidding to win the Halle tournament for the 11th time.

Having had two surgeries on his right knee in 2020, Federer, who has won 20 Grand Slam titles, withdrew from the fourth round of the French Open last week to give himself more rest.

The Swiss is using Halle to tune up for his bid to win a ninth title at Wimbledon, which starts June 28.

Federer had no problems moving around the court and when the first set went to a tie-breaker, he raced into a 6-1 lead, then converted his fourth set point.

Federer broke Ivashka's serve with the Swiss ace leading 6-5 in the second, converting his fourth match point to book his place in the second round after one hour, 36 minutes.

Earlier in the day, France's Corentin Moutet won his first-round match after Belgian seventh-seed David Goffin withdrew with injury at the start of the third set with the scores at 1-6, 7-5.

Australia's Jordan Thompson is also into the second round after a 6-2, 7-6 (4) win over Germany's Daniel Altmaier.

Having lost the men's French Open final to Novak Djokovic over five sets Sunday, world number four Stefanos Tsitsipas has withdrawn from Halle with exhaustion.





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