Federer needs Halle title to stay atop rankings

- AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, HALLE WESTFALEN

Jun 20, 2018-

Roger Federer on Monday flew to Halle to start his second consecutive week on grass but will have to fight for a second straight German title if he is to enter Wimbledon as top seed.

The weekend winner of the Stuttgart Cup—who owns nine titles in Halle—was welcomed with a cake and ceremony by tournament officials as he prepares to start in the first round against Aljaz Bedene. The 20-time Grand Slam champion moved back to the top spot through his Stuttgart semi-final place. But to stay ahead of rival Rafael Nadal he must now win the Halle trophy according to ATP calculations.

That’s just fine for the Swiss, confident in his game after claiming his 98th career title on Sunday over Milos Raonic. “I’m always excited for a challenge,” Federer said. “I’m up for it. I’m the holder here anyway, so my goal has always been to defend title. That might take my mind off of No 1 a little bit; I have hopes of going a long way this week.”

Japan’s Kei Nishikori had to fight through a tiebreaker to start his grass season with a win as he beat Matthias Bachinger 6-3, 7-6 (7/3). The seventh seed who has twice played semi-finals, worked for just under 90 minutes.

Published: 20-06-2018 08:40

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