Federer makes winning return in Stuttgart

Thursday, 2018-06-14 07:28:39
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Roger Federer celebrates during his match against Mischa Zverev during day 3 of the Mercedes Cup at Tennis club Weissenhof on June 13, 2018 in Stuttgart, Germany. (Photo: Getty Images)
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Wimbledon champion Roger Federer made a victorious return to action as he recovered from a set down to beat Germany’s Mischa Zverev 3-6 6-4 6-2 at the Stuttgart Open on Wednesday.

The Swiss top seed, who skipped the entire European claycourt swing to concentrate on the grasscourt season, showed signs of rust early on against Zverev but it did not take too long for him to rediscover his rhythm.

Federer had some early chances but could not take them and it was Zverev who struck first when he broke to love to lead 5-3 before a couple of aces helped him pocket the opening set.

It was the first set Zverev, older brother of world number three Alexander, had ever taken from Federer in six attempts, and a shock looked on the cards when he had a break point in the opening game of the second set.

Federer, who will be seeking a ninth Wimbledon title next month, eventually found some magic with a backhand winner to break for a 4-2 lead but the 36-year-old handed the advantage straight back in the next game.

Veteran Tommy Haas stunned Federer in Stuttgart a year ago but any thoughts of a similarly early exit against Zverev vanished as he surged into a 4-1 lead in the second set and cruised to victory.

Second seed Lucas Pouille also moved into the third round with a straight sets win over German wildcard Rudolf Molleker but sixth seed Denis Shapovalov was surprisingly beaten by 169th-ranked Indian qualifier Prajnesh Gunneswaran.

Milos Raonic, the Wimbledon runner-up in 2016, eased into the second round with victory over Mirza Basic.