Roger Federer survived a major scare at Halle as he barely managed to scrape through with a 7-6 (10-8) 3-6 7-6 (7-5) victory over Philipp Kohlschreiber at the Gerry Weber Open on Monday.
Federer is looking for his 8th title at Halle which would tie him with Rafael Nadal (Monte Carlo and Barcelona) and Guillermo Vilas (Bueno Ares) for the second-most championships at a single tournament. Nadal and his nine French Open titles are the all-time record. However, Federer would hold the non-clay mark with a victory this week.
“We were not happy with the draw,” the top-seeded Federer said. “He could have won today and would have deserved it. I was lucky, although I’d already been thinking that this may not be my day.”
The match saw some unbelievable ground-strokes by Federer in which he played a shot with his head below net-level including a behind-the-back shot when caught on the wrong foot.
“I know him well, we practice together, we know each other’s game,” Federer said. “The first round on grass is always difficult and complicated.”
Federer fans will be disappointed to see their favourite player finding it hard to secure wins in the first round of a challenger tournament just a couple of weeks ahead of Wimbledon. What ensues at Halle will be keenly observed by tennis fans around the world.