Federer bat­tles to vic­tory on re­turn

New Straits Times - - SPORT -

STUTTGART: Roger Federer was made to bat­tle af­ter a los­ing first set as the Swiss star made his long-awaited re­turn to ten­nis on Wed­nes­day with a 3-6, 6-4, 6-2 de­feat of Mis­cha Zverev at the Stuttgart Cup.

The World No 2 shook off the rust against his Ger­man op­po­nent af­ter a poor start, break­ing twice in the sec­ond and third sets to earn vic­tory in 93 min­utes.

The 20-time Grand Slam win­ner­can dis­place Rafael Nadal from the world’s top rank­ing spot if he reaches Sun­day’s fi­nal.

The 36-year-old fin­ished to the cheers of a sold-out cen­tre court on a chilly day.

“I’m happy to have won a match af­ter los­ing my last two (In­dian Wells, Mi­ami in March),” Federer said.

“This is a new start. I’m glad to have been able to win again, over­com­ing some dif­fi­cult mo­ments af­ter be­ing a set down. Mis­cha’s level dropped in the last two sets and that gave me a chance to win.”

Federer lost the first set to Zverev, older brother of World No 3 Alexan­der Zverev, but quickly re­cov­ered to post his sixth win in as many meet­ings in the se­ries.

The Swiss was play­ing his first match in nearly three months af­ter skip­ping the spring clay court sea­son for a sec­ond year in suc­ces­sion in or­der to fully con­cen­trate on his grass prepa­ra­tion.

He is aim­ing to claim a record ninth Wim­ble­don ti­tle next month at the All Eng­land Club.

In first round play, Ger­man Max­imil­lian Mert­erer lined up as the first op­po­nent for fourth seed Nick Kyr­gios with a de­feat of Croa­t­ian lucky loser Vik­tor Galovic 3-6, 6-4, 6-1.

In­dian Prajnesh Gunneswaran, ranked a career-best 169, achieved a win in his first ATP main draw ap­pear­ance, beat­ing Cana­dian sixth seed De­nis Shapo­valov 7-6 (8/6), 2-6, 6-3 for the first up­set of the week.

French­man Benoit Paire ham­mered 14 aces in his de­feat of Amer­i­can Tay­lor Fritz 6-7 (4/7), 6-3, 6-2. Paire will next face Czech third seed To­mas Berdych.

Canada’s sev­enth seed Mi­los Raonic, his rank­ing down to 35th, marked his come­back from in­jury af­ter last play­ing in Madrid nearly six weeks ago, by see­ing off Bos­nian Mirza Ba­sic 7-6 (10/8), 62.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Malaysia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.