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Federer Beats Mayer To Begin Halle Title Bid

Halle, Germany

Federer© Bongarts/Getty ImagesRoger Federer improved to 37-4 in Halle on Thursday.

Five-time Gerry Weber Open champion Roger Federer opened his title campaign on Thursday, defeating Florian Mayer 6-4, 7-5 to begin his grass-court season in Halle.

The second-seeded Federer hit 11 aces, won 76 per cent of his service points and converted two of his six break point chances to remain undefeated in four matches against Mayer.

“I'm very happy with the way things went today. I obviously knew playing against Mayer in the first round was going to be tricky,” Federer said. “He's in the Top 30 and has been to the quarter-finals of Wimbledon. And I've played him here on grass before, so I know how tough he can be.

“But I felt I was focussed, was moving well and bascially, didn't have any letdowns on my serve. I was able to create a few more chances than he did. I'm through with my first victory on grass this year and I hope it's not my last.”

Federer was playing his first match since falling to World No. 1 Novak Djokovic in the Roland Garros semi-finals. Federer has won four titles this season, in Rotterdam (d. del Potro), Dubai (d. Murray), Indian Wells (d. Isner) and Madrid (d. Berdych).

The 30-year-old Swiss, who signed a lifetime contract with the ATP World Tour 250 grass-court tournament in Halle, has a 37-4 event record, and is looking to collect his first trophy at the tournament since triumphing in 2008 over Philipp Kohlschreiber.

In the quarter-finals, Federer will clash with big-serving Milos Raonic. Federer has won both of their meetings this season in three sets, edging the Canadian in Indian Wells and Madrid.

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Wild card Tommy Haas beat Marcel Granollers 6-3, 6-4 to avenge his second-round loss to the Spaniard at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells. The 33-year-old home favourite won 60 per cent of his second serve return points to break Granollers once in each set.

“He's a very tricky player. He's No. 22 in the world so you know what you're going to get,” said Haas. “I played him recently in Indian Wells, where I lost a tough three setter, so I was seeking revenge. I knew I had to play some of my best tennis and I think this was one of my best matches throughout the whole year. I'm really pleased to have beaten him today.”

Haas is bidding to win his first title since lifting the Halle trophy three years ago after upsetting Novak Djokovic in the final. The 33 year old will look to equal his best season run (Munich semi-finals) when he takes on third seed and 2007 champion Tomas Berdych in the quarter-finals.

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