Roger Federer opens grass season with a bang

Sharapova makes a winning return from injury

Roger Federer began his run-up to Wimbledon with a win as he beat Australian John Millman in straight sets to reach the second round of the ATP tournament here on Tuesday.

Federer won his first grass-court game of the season 7-6(1), 6-3 on a muggy evening in Halle to set up a second-round meeting with French veteran Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.

Good start

“It is always important to win your first game on grass, because otherwise the grass season can be very short,” said Federer. Tsonga, 34, said it would be “something special” to face Federer after he beat compatriot Benoit Paire 6-4, 7-5 on Tuesday.

Maria Sharapova made a winning return from injury on Tuesday by beating Viktoria Kuzmova 7-6(8), 6-0 to reach the second round of the Mallorca Open.

The five-time Grand Slam champion has not played since the end of January after taking time out to recover from a shoulder injury, but edged a tight opening set against Kuzmova before strolling through the second.

Victory on the grass will come as a timely boost to morale for Sharapova, with the start of Wimbledon now less than two weeks away.

“It’s my first win in about three or four months,” Sharapova said afterwards.

Angelique Kerber now awaits Sharapova in round two after the top-seeded German defeated Belgium’s Ysaline Bonaventure 7-5, 4-6, 6-2.

Important results:

At Halle: Second round: Karen Khachanov bt Jan-Lennard Struff 6-3, 3-6, 6-4; David Goffin bt Radu Albot 4-6, 6-4, 6-3.

First round: Roger Federer bt John Millman 7-6(1), 6-3; Jo-Wilfried Tsonga bt Benoit Paire 6-4, 7-5; Borna Coric bt Jaume Munar 7-6(2), 6-3; David Goffin bt Guido Pella 6-1, 6-1; Richard Gasquet bt Peter Gojowczyk 6-3, 6-4; Jan-Lennard Struff bt Laslo Djere 6-4, 6-4.

Doubles: First round: Oliver Marach & Jurgen Melzer bt Marcelo Demoliner & Divij Sharan 7-5, 7-6(5).

At Mallorca: First round: Maria Sharapova bt Viktoria Kuzmova 7-6(8), 6-0; Paula Badosa bt Alison Riske 6-7(2), 7-5, 7-5; Caroline Garcia bt Victoria Azarenka 1-6, 6-4, 7-5; Samantha Stosur bt Saisai Zheng 6-4, 7-5; Angelique Kerber bt Ysaline Bonaventure 7-5, 4-6, 6-2; Alize Cornet bt Sara Sorribes 6-0, 6-1.

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