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Former Champion Kohlschreiber Opens Halle Bid

Halle, Germany

Watch Kohlschreiber vs Seppi highlights. Video courtesy Gerry Weber Open.

Former champion and home favourite Philipp Kohlschreiber opened his Gerry Weber Open campaign with a 6-3, 6-4 victory over Andreas Seppi on Monday in Halle.

The No. 24-ranked Kohlschreiber has been in a rich vein of form in recent weeks and claimed his 22nd win of the season as he fired nine aces and converted both his break point chances to prevail in 69 minutes. The right-hander captured the Dusseldorf title just over two weeks ago before pushing Andy Murray to a 12-10 fifth set in the third round at Roland Garros.

"I knew the match was going to be tough against Seppi," said Kohlschreiber. "I’m very happy I put him under pressure right from the start so he couldn’t develop his game. Of course, I am a bit tense because I want to perform well. But I think my nervousness was due to the change of surface."

Kohlschreiber Confident Ahead Of Grass Swing

The 30-year-old Kohlschreiber lifted the trophy at this ATP World Tour 250 grass-court tournament in 2011 (d. Petzschner) and was runner-up in 2008 to Roger Federer

Herbert He will next face French qualifier Pierre-Hugues Herbert, who upset No. 8 seed Jerzy Janowicz 7-6(5), 6-2 for his third tour-level win. The 135th-ranked Herbert fired 11 aces and converted four of his 14 break point chances.

Janowicz had reached the semi-finals last year at Wimbledon, falling to eventual champion Andy Murray.

Two German wild cards advanced in opening-day action in Halle. Peter Gojowczyk beat Michal Przysiezny 7-5, 6-4 and will play third seed Milos Raonic for a place in the quarter-finals. Dustin Brown set a second-round meeting with top seed Rafael Nadal after defeating Russian qualifier Andrey Kuznetsov 6-3, 6-4.

"It’s going to be nice to play him, and I much prefer it to be on grass than on clay (laughs)," said Brown. "I am really looking forward to the match and it’s on my favourite surface. The good thing is, I don’t feel any pressure and can just focus on playing my game."

Portugal's Joao Sousa prevented a perfect day for the German contingent as he dismissed wild card Jan-Lennard Struff 6-4, 6-2. Sousa will next confront No. 2 seed and defending champion Roger Federer, who is looking to win the Gerry Weber Open title for a seventh time.

Meanwhile, Germany's top player, Tommy Haas, withdrew from the tournament Monday with a right shoulder injury. Haas had won the Halle title in 2012.

"It is very very sad for me because Halle is a very special place for me," he said. "I always played well here and prepared myself well for the weeks to come and especially for Wimbledon... It is a difficult setback and very difficult for me and my career, especially given the point in time and my age."

In the only doubles match Monday, Robin Haase and Kei Nishikori teamed up to defeat Milos Raonic and Mikhail Youzhny 6-4, 7-6(7).

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