Roger Federer wins opening match at Halle Open in Germany
The 17-time grand slam winner yet to pick up a title this year
Gael Monfils withdraws from Wimbledon for personal reasons
Lleyton Hewitt shocks Grigor Dimitrov at Queen's Club
Roger Federer began preparations for the defense of his Wimbledon title by cruising into the quarterfinals with a crushing victory over German wildcard Cedrik-Marcel Stebe at the Halle Open Wednesday.
The 17-time grand slam winner needed just 67 minutes to record a 6-3 6-3 win in his first outing since losing to France’s Jo-Wilfried Tsonga at the quarterfinal stage of the French Open.
Federer suffered defeat playing alongside Tommy Haas in the doubles on Monday but bounced back in comfortable fashion.
“I was satisfied with my performance even if there were things I could have done better,” the world number three told reporters.
“I hope to get stronger with each match.”
Federer, 31, has not won a single title this season and is keen to get to add to the five crowns he has already won at the German tournament.
The Swiss ace has reached the final seven times, winning five of those between 2003-2008, while he lost out in 2010 to Lleyton Hewitt, and to Germany’s Haas last year.
“Any title is good for your confidence,” he added.
“I want to be in the best position to do well here in Halle then at Wimbledon. I feel that my best chance is here.”
Federer will face German Mischa Zverev, ranked 156 in the world, in the next round.
One man who won’t be playing at Wimbledon is France’s Gael Monfils, who has withdrawn from the tournament for personal reasons.
“I’ve withdrawn my request for a wildcard because I’ve got a small personal problem to sort out during the coming week,” he told reporters following his second round win over Jan Hernych in Halle.
“Something unexpected has come up in the first week of Wimbledon.”
Monfils, ranked 67 in the world, is expected to compete at the Stuttgart clay-court tournament which starts on July 8.
Elsewhere at Halle, Japan’s Kei Nishikori suffered a shock three-set defeat by Russia’ Mikhail Youzhny.
The Russian, 30, claimed a surprise 6-1 6-7 6-3 win after a battle which lasted over two hours.
Meanwhile, former World No.1 Lleyton Hewitt pulled off an impressive straight sets win over Bulgaria’s rising star Grigor Dimitrov at Queen’s Club in London.
Hewitt, who won at Wimbledon in 2002, prevailed 6-4 6-3 in just 68 minutes.
“Today’s victory is going to help me immensely,” he told the ATP website.
“I feel like in practice, I have been hitting the ball great. It was just a matter of doing it on the match court.
“My first match wasn’t pretty, but I fought hard and got through it. That’s what I needed to do. Then today it was a classy performance.”
Hewitt will play 2010 winner Sam Querrey for a place in the quarterfinals.
Elsewhere, there were victories for Tomas Berdych, Alexandr Dolgopolov and British wild card Dan Evans.
Andy Murray’s match against Nicolas Mahut was suspended because of rain after the Briton had taken the first set 6-3.