Top seed Federer is now looking to reach his 14th quarter-final in as many appearances in the German city. Federer next will face Tunisian Malek Jaziri. The World No. 3 won their prior FedEx ATP Head2Head meeting in three sets at the 2013 Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships.
The Swiss defended well early against the unintimidated 26 year old aiming for an upset. Federer also converted just enough break points – one – and held serve throughout the match to move into the second round.
“It was hard to find a rhythm against Struff today. He took the ball early, went for a lot on the forehand, backhand. He has a big serve, especially the first one,” Federer said. “So then you go back to basics, you focus on your own serve. I thought I did that very well. He never really had chances on my own serve, so that was comforting.”
The first-round contest was just Federer's 19th match of the season as he's struggled with a back injury and endured knee surgery in February. But the Swiss star's movement looked unhampered. He darted from side to side and approached the net against Struff, who entered the match with a 3-9 record on grass, compared to Federer's 144-21.
Federer broke in the match's seventh game and later served out the first set. The two exchanged service holds in the second until Federer pulled away in the tie-break.
“I feel after the first round, after having played last week [in Stuttgart], actually maybe something is really possible here. I don’t want to get too carried away but I feel like if I serve the way I did today and I’m able to step it up just a little bit on the return from the baseline, all of a sudden I’m dangerous for anybody,” Federer said. “We’ll see how it goes. But I take one match at a time and I hope just to keep on playing a bit better match by match.”