Roger Federer tied Ivan Lendl for second place on the ATP’s all-time match win leaders. Earlier, Federer survived a tough battle from 18-year-old American Taylor Fritz 64, 57, 64 in his opening round at Stuttgart.
The match was Federer’s first since a third round loss to Dominic Thiem at Rome. Federer withdrew from the French Open with a back injury.
“It wasn’t easy,” said Federer. “I thought Fritz had some good moments there. He gained control of the baseline, he had a little bit of an upper-hand at times. He served well and I was a little bit cautious, unsure of how to move and questioning my defence. These are the things I will need to iron out.
“I can take a lot of confidence out of this match. I need to improve a few things, but I served big and I was able to handle three sets over two days, and find some energy at the end of the match. I know I have an extra gear. My next goal is to stretch leads – once I get a lead, I need to know that I can protect it then take the next step.”
Federer will now try to break the tie tomorrow against German veteran Florian Mayer.
OPEN ERA ATP MATCH WINS LEADERS
1) Jimmy Connors (USA) 1,256
2=) Ivan Lendl (CZE/USA) 1,071
2=) Roger Federer (SUI) 1,071
4) Guillermo Vilas (ARG) 929
5) John McEnroe (USA) 877
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