Roger Federer returns with victory in Halle

Published by AAP / Tennismash

Roger Federer (Getty Images)
Playing for the first time since his French Open semifinal loss, Roger Federer returns to a happy hunting ground in Halle – and wins his opening match over John Millman.

Roger Federer exacted some revenge on John Millman following his defeat to the Australian at last year’s US Open thanks to a 7-6(1) 6-3 first-round victory at the ATP grass-court tournament in Halle.

It was the only place where men’s action took place on Tuesday; the concurrent ATP 500 event at London’s Queen’s Club had its Day 2 schedule completely wiped out with rain.

MONDAY: Cilic, Anderson begin with wins at Queen’s

Facing the nine-time champion of the event in Germany was never going to be an easy task for Millman, the world No.57 from Brisbane. However, he more than held his own in the opening set, before Federer took control in the tiebreak.

The Swiss great then broke Millman early in the second set for the only time in the match and eased his way to victory in an hour and 17 minutes.

Federer saved a break point when serving for the match, and closed out a triumph which set up a second-round meeting with former world No.5 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.

Tsonga beat fellow Frenchman Benoit Paire 6-4 7-5.

Also advancing was Borna Coric, the defending champion who beat Federer in last year’s Halle final.

Coric, seeded fourth, saw off Jaume Munar 7-6(2) 6-3 and will next play Joao Sousa of Portugal.

“I’m entering (the grass-court season) for sure with a little bit more confidence. The expectations are also a bit higher, which sometimes is not good, obviously,” he told

“In ’s-Hertogenbosch I played a solid tournament, I would say. I was a little bit lucky again. Sometimes I played good, sometimes not good. So it was a good tournament.

“I needed a little bit of the extra matches to come here just a little bit more relaxed.”

Other winners on Tuesday included former top-10 players Richard Gasquet and David Goffin – who thrashed eighth seed Guido Pella 6-1 6-1 – and seventh seed Roberto Bautista Agut, who subdued Taylor Fritz 7-6(10) 6-0.

Matteo Berrettini, the champion last week in Stuttgart, extended his grass-court winning streak to six with a 6-4 6-4 triumph over Nikoloz Basilashvili.

Berrettini hasn’t dropped a set on grass this year.

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