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Federer Survives Scare In Halle Opener

Halle, Germany

Federer© Bongarts/Getty ImagesRoger Federer came from a set down to reach the quarter-finals.

Roger Federer survived a scare on Thursday as he opened his bid for an unprecedented seventh Gerry Weber Open title. The second seed fought from a set down to beat Joao Sousa 6-7(8), 6-4, 6-2 and book his place in the quarter-finals of the ATP World Tour 250 grass-court tournament.

Federer was denied on five break points in the first set as the No. 47-ranked Sousa edged it in the tie-break. The Swiss' perseverance paid off in the second set as he converted his ninth break point for a 4-3 lead and levelled the match. A break at the start of the third set put Federer on the path to victory in one hour and 50 minutes.

"It was slightly frustrating at times clearly, but nevertheless I served well and kept on doing my thing," said Federer. "It was important to stay calm and actually I think it gives me more confidence winning this way. I had to stay calm, fight through the match and find a way and then the last set and a half were much better. So, I'm actually pretty happy now."

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The 32-year-old Federer has a 44-5 event record in Halle, lifting the trophy in 2003-'06, '08 and again last year with victory over Mikhail Youzhny. The Basel native is the most successful grass-court player in the Open Era. He has won at least one grass-court title in nine of the past 11 years, claiming 13 in total, including seven triumphs at Wimbledon.

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Federer is coming off a fourth-round exit at Roland Garros, where he was beaten by eventual semi-finalist Ernests Gulbis. The right-hander has a 32-7 match record this season, winning his 78th tour-level title in Dubai (d. Berdych) and finishing runner-up in Brisbane (l. to Hewitt) and at the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournaments in Indian Wells (l. to Djokovic) and Monte-Carlo (l. to Wawrinka).

Federer goes on to face Yen-Hsun Lu for a place in the semi-finals. The Chinese Taipei player withstood 21 aces to defeat Ivo Karlovic 7-6(2), 7-6(3) in 89 minutes. Federer takes a 2-0 FedEx ATP Head2Head lead into the contest, with one of those wins coming at Wimbledon five years ago.

American Steve Johnson was granted a quarter-final spot when Teymuraz Gabashvili was forced to withdraw due to a right knee injury. World No. 63 Johnson will contest his third ATP World Tour quarter-final of the season.

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