Roger Federer rebounded after a slow start on Thursday to beat Jan-Lennard Struff in straight sets and reach the quarterfinals of the Swiss Indoors Basel for the 16th time in 18 career appearances.
Having been pushed to three sets in his first-round match against Filip Krajinovic, Federer started off slowly against Struff, dropping serve and falling behind 3-1. But he reeled off five games in a row to sneak out the first set, and after 10 straight holds in the second set, he broke for a 6-5 lead. He went on to hold at love for a 67-minute, 6-3, 7-5 victory.
Federer is now 4-0 in his career against Struff, and 10-0 in sets.
“I was ready for Struff to come out and swing,” Federer said. “I didn’t know how aggressively he was going to play, or how much serve and volleying he was going to do. Unfortunately I didn’t have the best first two service games, but he also played well—he came out with a plan and it worked for him.
“Fortunately for me I had a decent game after that and a decent end to the set. The second set was close throughout, but I was able to clean up my game a little bit. Struff couldn’t quite find the answers maybe and gave me one opportunity and I took it—he helped me with a double fault on break point.”
The world No. 3 was optimistic about his form getting even better as the week progresses.
“I’m excited for the next round. I’m actually quite happy how I’m playing now,” he said.
“I think it was good that the three sets came in my last match and not today. I guess I’ll be 100 percent again tomorrow. I love playing on this court. The crowds are great—I want to stick around for a bit.”
Awaiting the eight-time Basel champion in Friday’s quarterfinals will be Gilles Simon, who edged Ernests Gulbis in two tie-breaks in a close battle between former Top 10 players.
Simon, a former world No. 6, has been a tough match-up for Federer in the past. He won their first two career meetings, and although Federer has won their last six meetings, two of those wins were five-setters (and one was a retirement). Simon has actually won eight sets in their eight meetings.
The Frenchman is also no stranger to upsets—he has five career wins over Top 3 players. Federer has won his last 17 matches in a row in Basel, and has a 68-9 career record at the event.
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