BERLIN (Reuters) - Top seed Roger Federer resumed his comeback on grass with a 6-3 6-1 demolition of Japan’s Yuichi Sugita in his Halle Open first round, with the Swiss looking sharper than in last week’s shock loss in Stuttgart.
The 18-times grand slam winner won the Australian Open as well as Miami and Indian Wells before skipping the entire claycourt season to prepare for an assault on an eighth Wimbledon title and the U.S. hardcourt season.
The 35-year-old’s first match back in action last week at the Stuttgart Open was a flop when he suffered a shock loss to German veteran Tommy Haas, ranked 302 at the time, despite leading for a set and a half.
But Federer, an eight-times winner on Halle grass, was in complete control against world number 66 Sugita -- a lucky loser who replaced injured Lu Yen-hsun -- on Tuesday.
The world number five required a little longer after he wasted three match points at 5-0 before breaking Sugita again to clinch the match after 52 minutes.
Third seed Kei Nishikori had to work much harder to get into the next round with a 6-7(7) 6-3 6-4 victory over Spaniard Fernando Verdasco.
Local hero Alexander Zverev, the fourth seed who has already won three titles this year, made light work of Italian Paolo Lorenzi during a 6-3 6-2 workout, while his older brother Mischa also booked a second round spot with a 6-4 6-4 victory over Lukas Lacko.
Reporting by Karolos Grohmann, editing by Pritha Sarkar