Federer sneaks through in Halle


Roger Federer was given a tough test by Philipp Kohlschreiber as he made a winning start to his grass-court campaign at the Gerry Weber Open.

The seven-time champion was far from his fluent best in Halle, but eventually did enough to progress to the second round 7-6 (10-8) 3-6 7-6 (7-5).

Federer needed some luck throughout the match but managed to maintain his 100 per cent record over Kohlschreiber.

A break apiece in the opening set meant nothing could separate the pair on Monday, their flowing rallies failing to produce any opportunities to push ahead.

In the tie-break it was again close, Federer warming up his serve-and-volley game to put pressure on the 2011 champion, Kohlschreiber eventually handing his opponent the lead with a forehand into the net.

Kohlschreiber's game was still working well, though, with his serve particularly dangerous and keeping Federer on his toes throughout. 

The German levelled the match thanks to a break in the eighth game of the second, before serving out to love.

Breaks were hard to come by in the decider too, as both men executed some precise groundstrokes, while also making a few errors – Federer's forehand volley surprisingly letting him down on occasions.

Having wasted two match points in the 10th game, Federer needed a tie-break to see him through, but not before Kohlschreiber had wasted a winning opportunity himself.

A wayward smash gave Federer his third match point, and this time he made no mistake as a pinpoint serve forced Kohlschrieber into another loose shot, which found the net. 

Hot prospect Borna Coric joins Federer in the second round after he saw off Donald Young in three sets, the Croat saving five break points before taking the first set at the third attempt.

Young was not going without a fight, though, and he quickly levelled in the second to take the match to a deciding set, Coric eventually making his way through 6-4 3-6 6-3.

Wildcards Dustin Brown and Alexander Zverev are also into round two after wins over Andreas Haider-Maurer and Jarkko Nieminen respectively.

Meanwhile, Florian Mayer was taken to a third-set tie break before finally seeing off wildcard Jan-Lennard Struff, and Alejandro Falla beat fellow qualifier Lukas Lacko 6-4 3-6 6-1.