Monday, June 12, 2017

Roger Federer to face familiar foes in Stuttgart

I'm not really digging the new short hair cut. Sorry Rog.

The grass-court season has arrived on the ATP World Tour and a familiar face is atop the draw at the MercedesCup. Top seed Roger Federer leads the field in Stuttgart, his first tournament since going back-to-back at the Masters 1000 events in Indian Wells and Miami two months ago.

Federer, who has a first-round bye, opens against either wild card and close friend Tommy Haas or Frenchman Pierre-Hugues Herbert. A potential quarter-final clash against another German veteran, Mischa Zverev, could also await the Swiss. Third seed Tomas Berdych, who faces either Stephane Robertor Bernard Tomic in the second round, is another seeded threat in Federer's half of the draw.

If 35-year-old Federer faces 39-year-old Haas, it would be their 17th FedEx ATP Head2Head encounter and first since 2014, when the Swiss prevailed in straight sets in Indian Wells. They have met five times on grass, with Haas earning his lone victory in the 2012 Gerry Weber Open final.

Federer reached the semi-finals in Stuttgart last year, where he succumbed to Dominic Thiem in three sets. Owner of the most grass-court titles in the Open Era (15), the eight-time Halle champ will look to add a ninth on German soil. Victory over Haas or Herbert would give him his 20th match win of the season and No. 1100 of his career.

Second seed Grigor Dimitrov leads the charge in the bottom half of the draw, opening aginst either Andrey Kuznetsov or Jerzy Janowicz. Last year's runner-up Philipp Kohlschreiber is unseeded, as is 2009 champion Jeremy Chardy, who triumphed when the tournament was held on clay.

Held at the Tennisclub Weissenhof E.V Parlerstrasse, this is the 40th edition of the MercedesCup and third on grass, having transitioned from clay in 2015.

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