The Gerry Weber open is now in its 20th year, and each year it seems that the field gets stronger. Roger Federer is back as the #1 seed and favorite to win his 6th title in Halle, Germany. Top 20 players Richard Gasquet, Tommy Haas, Kei Nishikori and Milos Raonic joined Federer to round out a very strong field for a 250 event.
In an intriguing first round match, Gael Monfils took on the #5 seed Raonic. Monfils has a had a great month of May, moving up some 50 places in the rankings after a run to the final in Nice, and the third round of the French Open. He’s up to #67, and although he doesn’t have a great record on grass, Monfils took out Raonic fairly easily. Raonic’s huge serve is even more effective on the quick grass surface, but Monfils was reading it like a book. Every time the players go into a rally over 3 shots, Monfils would dictate and dominate the point. His 6-4 6-2 victory took him to the second round where he played Jan Henrych, a Czech qualifier who took out Daniel Brands in the opening round. Monfils breezed through that match, taking it 6-3 6-2.
Bad news for Monfils fans however, as Gael pulled out of Wimbledon yesterday, citing personal reasons. Nobody knows the exact reason yet, but Monfils tweeted “Life is a b****,and death is her sister…” It does seem odd that he would continue to play in Halle, but pull out of Wimbledon.
Back to the tennis. Roger Federer played his first match Wednesday, after his first round bye. He took on German Wild Card Cedric Marcel-Stebe. It was a pretty routine match for Federer, he didn’t play that well, but he was in control the entire match, winning 6-3 6-3. Highlights are below. He will play another wildcard, Mischa Zverev in the Quarterfinals.
Tommy Haas, the defending champion, played his first match against Ernests Gulbis Thursday. Haas was in control for most of the match but Gulbis’ huge serve saved numerous break points. Haas eventually prevailed 7-6(5) 6-4. He will play Monfils in the Quarterfinals.
The bottom of the draw is when the #2 seed, Richard Gasquet resides. He took care of business in his second round match, beating Jurgen Melzer 6-3 6-1, playing some brilliant tennis. He will play Florian Mayer, the crafty German in the next round.
It should be a good weekend of tennis in Halle!