Nine-time champion Roger Federer returns Wednesday in Halle to face German Jan-Lennard Struff in a first meeting. Federer is coming off a semifinal run last week in Stuttgart where he lost to Dominic Thiem.
“I’m just hoping I can keep up a good level from Stuttgart. It got better as the tournament progressed. It was unfortunate that I couldn’t win against Thiem but after all I felt improvement throughout,” Federer said.
Playing his eighth straight week of tennis, Thiem opens in Halle tomorrow against Joao Sousa. The Austrian just won his first grass title Monday in Stuttgart.
“I think it was the happiest moment in my tennis life so far,” Thiem said. “I really went to Stuttgart without any expectations and didn’t have a lot of time to prepare. Therefore, it is really great to have won four difficult matches and, of course, the victory of the semi-finals against Federer which I wouldn’t have thought of in my wildest dreams, and then the very difficult final over two days. So, it really took a huge weight off my mind after winning the match point.”
Also on Wednesday, No. 2 seed Kei Nishikori faces Florian Mayer and Philipp Kohlschreiber clashes with Marcel Granollers.
Earlier today, Marcos Baghdatis upset Tomas Berdych 7-6(3), 7-6(4).
“To beat Tomas anywhere, it’s a great achievement and I’m happy that I did it today here,” said Baghdatis who is a former Wimbledon semifinalist. “I think I put a lot of pressure on his serve with my returns.
“I mixed it up, tried to play some slice, tried to keep the ball low, not to let him be aggressive.”
And teen phenom Alex Zverev ousted Viktor Troicki 6-4, 6-4. “Viktor is a very good grass-court player,” Zverev said. “So I feel pretty good. I’m playing well. I didn’t do a lot of mistakes and served quite well.”
WEDNESDAY HALLE SCHEDULE
STADION start 12:00
 P. Kohlschreiber (GER) vs M. Granollers (ESP)
[PR] F. Mayer (GER) vs  K. Nishikori (JPN)
 R. Federer (SUI) vs [WC] J. Struff (GER)
Not Before 5:30 pm
J. Sousa (POR) vs  D. Thiem (AUT)
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