Roger Federer opened his bid for a ninth Halle title with a 6-4, 7-6(3) win over German Jan-Lennard Struff.
“I served well and have no issues with my serves,” said Federer. “The returns are decided by the opponent. But Jan-Lennard stood up well and it was a good match.”
Despite the win, Federer says he’s still trying to work his way back into a groove.
“The bar is naturally lower overall just because I need to first feel like I’m free with everything,” he said of his prospects. “My mind, my body, my game, whatever. So, there’s so many things to work through it. I’m getting there. I’m happy that I’m getting more and more info every match I play.”
Federer will meet Malek Jaziri tomorrow.
Germans Alexander Zverev and former champion Philipp Kohlschreiber also advanced as did Dominic Thiem who beat Joao Sousa in straight sets.
Zverev got a retirement from countryman Benjamin Becker who withdrew down 7-5, 3-0 due to a back injury.
Earlier, No. 2 seed Kei Nishikori withdrew from the event with a left rib injury.
“In the first match, I hurt my side abs and I tried to recover yesterday and today and I tried to hit today and it was a little painful,” Nishikori said. “So, I couldn’t really play today’s match, singles and also doubles. So, it’s very unfortunate but I have to withdraw today.
“I’ve had it a couple of times. So, it’s nothing new and I don’t think it’s going to take a lot of times. So, I think a few days or one week I think it should be better.”
THURSDAY HALLE SCHEDULE
STADION start 12:00
 P. Kohlschreiber (GER) vs I. Karlovic (CRO)
[Q] S. Stakhovsky (UKR) vs  D. Goffin (BEL)
Match of the Day –  R. Federer (SUI) vs M. Jaziri (TUN)
Not Before 5:30 pm
T. Gabashvili (RUS) vs  D. Thiem (AUT)
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