Eight-time champion Roger Federer rolled in the Halle quarterfinals Thursday with tight win over Mischa Zverev 7-6(4), 6-4.
Federer, who beat the German last year 6-0, 6-0, pulled ahead at 5-4 in the first set breaker, then got the only break of the match at 4-all in the second.
“He started serving great, which put me under pressure as I wasn’t getting many looks,” Federer said. “It was important to stay calm after missing chances to win the set at 5-4. And it’s important to win ‘breakers. They are the sets you need to win to win tournaments. It felt like a close breaker that could have gone either way.
“After I got that in the bag I was really able to start to relax and really play and feel the way I want to feel out there. That’s the first time I’ve felt like that since Miami, so that’s a good sign looking ahead.”
Next for the Swiss is another German, Florian Mayer. Mayer, who won the title last year, ousted Lucas Pouille in three sets.
“It will be a different match. Flo has wonderful variations in his game,” said Federer who leads Mayer 7-0. “I have already had to play tough against him here. It will surely be a tough match.”
A pair of young Russians will meet in the quarterfinals Friday as 19-year-old Andrey Rublev takes on 21-year-old Karen Khachanov. Rublev beat countryman Mikhail Youzhny 6-0, 3-6, 6-3 while Khachanov advanced when Kei Nishikori retired with an apparent hip injury at 3-2 in the first set.
In the other two already-scheduled quarters, Alexander Zverev faces Roberto Bautista Agut and Richard Gasquet collides with Robin Haase.
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