ATP Halle: Roger Federer edges John Millman to kick off title chase

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ATP Halle: Roger Federer edges John Millman to kick off title chase

Entering the ATP 500 event in Halle for the 17th time since 2000, the nine-time champion Roger Federer defeated John Millman 7-6, 6-3 in an hour and 17 minutes. Playing for the first time since Roland Garros where he lost in the semi-final, Roger never faced a break point in the entire encounter, dropping 11 points behind the initial shot and breaking Millman's resistance in set number two to celebrate the 64th victory in Halle.

At the US Open last summer, John prevailed over Roger in four sets and was on a good course today as well, avoiding troubles in his games in the opener before Roger claimed the tie break 7-1 after a backhand error from the Aussie to gather the momentum.

Millman stayed in touch in the first four games of set number two before Roger found the winning formula on the return, converting the second break point in game six to move 4-2 up when his rival sprayed a forehand mistake.

A service winner pushed the Swiss 5-2 in front, serving for the win in the ninth game when he fended off a break point with a service winner, delivering another one to create the first match point and seizing it with another booming initial shot that propelled him into the second round.

This was the 177th victory for Roger on grass in a career and he should be pleased with the way he performed considering that deep Roland Garros run, finishing the encounter with 28 winners and 33 unforced errors and leaving Millman on a 10-24 ratio.

The Swiss looked sharp at the net and has to find some extra fuel on the return in the next couple of matches to stay in contention for the tenth title in Halle, losing to Borna Coric in the final a year ago.