Roger Federer makes winning return to grass with first round victory at Halle Open

Murray makes his own return to the grass on Tuesday at Queen's Club

Roger Federer began his preparations for Wimbledon with narrow win over qualifier Ilya Ivashka in the first round of the Halle Open on Monday in what was the Swiss' first grass-court match in two years.

Federer, who turns 40 in August, faced a solid challenge from world No 90 Ivashka, with the only break of serve coming in the last game of the match of his 7-6, 7-5 victory.

Federer, the fifth seed in Halle, will meet Canada's Felix Auger-Aliassime or Hubert Hurkacz of Poland in the second round.

"There is room for improvement, but I am happy with my first game here on grass. I feel good," said world No 8 Federer, who is bidding to win the Halle tournament for a record-extending 11th time.

Having had two surgeries on his right knee in 2020, the 20-time Grand Slam champion withdrew from the fourth round of the French Open last week to give himself more rest.

The fifth seed is using Halle to tune up for his bid to win a ninth title at Wimbledon, which starts June 28.

Federer had no problems moving around the court and when the first set went to a tie-breaker, he raced into a 6-1 lead, then converted his fourth set point.

Federer broke Ivashka’s serve while leading 6-5 in the second, converting his fourth match point to book his place in the second round after one hour, 36 minutes.

The Swiss will not be joined in Halle by French Open finalist Stefanos Tsitsipas after tournament organisers announced on Monday that the Greek had withdrawn from the tournament citing exhaustion.

Murray makes return to Queen's

epa09270509 Great Britain's Andy Murray plays on the practice courts at the Cinch Championships Tennis tournament at the Queen's Club in London, Britain, 14 June 2021.  EPA/VICKIE FLORES

Another former Wimbledon champion making a tentative comeback from injury, Andy Murray begins his Queen's Club Championships campaign on Tuesday – and the Scot has downplayed his chances of returning to the top.

Murray, who has undergone two major hip surgeries, is on the comeback trail again this week after another round of the fitness issues that have troubled him for several years.

The 34 year-old Scot faces Benoit Paire at the Wimbledon warm-up event, which he has won five times. It will be his first singles match on grass for three years.

Asked if he felt capable of getting close to the form that took him to the world No 1 ranking in 2016, Murray struck a downbeat tone.

"I feel OK. I don't feel perfect, but I've been practising well over the last month or so, pretty consistently," the three-time major winner said.

"The question mark is obviously whether the body holds up and I can't say with any great certainty right now whether that's going to happen or not.

"I have been feeling good at different points throughout the last nine months or so, practised really well, felt good going into tournaments. Then, you know, something's happened."

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