Roger Federer will begin his grass court campaign with a title defense in Halle. His first opponent this week will be Portugal’s Joao Sousa, whom he has never met on the professional tour. This was Federer’s only title during his disappointing 2013 season, and he will be looking to defend it before heading to the Wimbledon Championships.
After his fourth round exit at Roland Garros to eventual semi-finalist Ernests Gulbis, Federer is looking forward to starting the grass court portion of the season at an event he has won on six separate occasions.
“Mentally I have already switched to the grass, to be quite honest,” said Federer. “Clearly first the focus is on Halle, try to defend my title there. It’s nice going back to a place where I have to defend something. Hasn’t been like this for a while, so that’s something I’m looking forward to. I think when I’m healthy, like I have been now for the last six to nine months; I think I can also decide the outcome of the matches more than I could last year.
While Federer’s worst season in a decade took place last year, Halle was the only title the Swiss star managed to win, when he defeated Mikhail Youzhny in the final. He is a six-time champion at the event, having won the title on four consecutive occasions between 2003-06, before doing it again in 2008 and 2013. He is 45-3 overall at the event.
Portugal’s Joao Sousa began his week in Halle with a 6-4, 6-2 win over Jan-Lennard Struff.
This marks the first time these two competitors will meet on the professional tour, and should be an interesting encounter and a nice opening test for Federer to start off his grass court run. It is unlikely that he will be challenged much during this match-up, and should end in straight sets.
Prediction: Roger Federer in Straight Sets