Just like last year, Roger Federer’s first match at the MercedesCup was not an easy one. Compared to 2017, however, Federer managed to get past all obstacles, namely Mischa Zverev, and advance to the quarter finals at Stuttgart’s Weissenhof.
The first set was pretty even until Federer staggered in his fourth service game, losing it without making a single point. Zverev kept his nerves calm and served out the set to love – 6-3. Starting the second set, Federer was still not completely comfortable with his own serve but managed to get by until he pounded on his first chance to break Zverev’s serve for a 4-2 lead. Zverev wasn’t intimidated, immediately striking back by breaking Federer’s serve. The German’s nerves finally wavered when he had to serve against losing the set and Federer, like a predator, pounded, breaking Zverev again to take the set 6-4.
In the final set, Federer got an early break for a 3-1 lead and never looked back, taking the match 3-6, 6-4, 6-2.
“Could have been worse”
After the match, Federer was happy to have reached the next round: “I’m pretty content, it could’ve been much worse.” The Swiss who obviously wasn’t in top shape after he skipped all of the clay court season, especially struggled in the beginning: “The first set was pretty frustrating. A top of the net here, a passing shot there – that’s how it goes on grass. But I battled. You tend to forget how it feels to play a real match. You have to keep your concentration point for point. Thanks to the fans and my own effort I managed that in the end.”
In the quarter finals Federer will meet the winner of Guido Pella (ARG) – Prajnesh Gunneswaran (IND).
Two other Germans were also eliminated from the tournament on Wednesday: Young talent Rudolf Molleker had no chance against titleholder Lucas Pouille (FRA/2), losing 3-6, 4-6. Veteran Florian Mayer bowed out against Denis Istomin from Uzbekistan with the exact same result.