A revitalised Roger Federer continued his imperious form on grass by beating Slovenia's Aljaz Bedene in straight sets in the first round of Halle Open on Tuesday.
The freshly-reinstated world number one took his winning streak on his favourite surface to 17 after he took a little over an hour - 71 minutes to be precise -- to cruise past Bedene 6-3 6-4.
The win comes two days after the 36-year-old Swiss captured his 98th career ATP title in Stuttgart. The win last week came after Federer took a two-month spring break, during which he missed the French Open.
Federer is scheduled to play Frenchman Benoit Paire Thursday for a place in the quarter-finals of the tournament. The duo has played each other five times, with the 20-time grand slam winner prevailing in all of them. The only time Federer dropped a set against Paire was in the 2013 Australian Open.
Paire, a former top 20 player in the world, reached the second round of the tournament by beating American Steve Johnson in two tight sets 7-5 7-6 (5).
A win this weekend would see the Swiss achieve his own version of 'La Decima' as this would be his tenth title in the idyllic German town.
The Halle Open has traditionally been used by Federer as tune-up event before Wimbledon, a title he has won a record-extending eight times.
Meanwhile, second seed Alexander Zverev produced an insipid display in his opening round against fellow GenNext Borna Coric, losing 1-6, 4-6. The young German later attributed his loss to fatigue that he endured while playing three straight five-setters at the French Open last month. Incidentally, this was Zverev's third loss in four matches to Coric. Coric himself is no mug with a tennis racquet in hand, especially because he is one of the few players on the ATP Tour to have beaten Federer and Rafael Nadal.
It was not a great day for the elder Zverev too as he was shown the door by up-and-coming Russian Karen Khachanov. Khachanov, who lost a hard-fought semi-final match against Federer last year, saw off the serve-and-volley specialist 7-6 (5) 6-3.
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