• Federer kicks off Halle campaign against Stebe

    6/11/13 11:02 PM | Ricky Dimon
    Federer kicks off Halle campaign against Stebe Roger Federer will begin his bid for a sixth Halle title when he takes the court on Wednesday. Federer is facing Cedrik-Marcel Stebe, while Gael Monfils and Jan Hernych are also in second-round action.

    (1) Roger Federer vs. (WC) Cedrik-Marcel Stebe

    Federer will kick off his 2013 Gerry Weber Open campaign on Wednesday evening. The third-ranked Swiss is 39-5 lifetime in Halle with five career titles. He is a relatively disappointing 22-7 this season and coming off a straight-set quarterfinal loss to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga at the French Open. Grass, however, could be a different story for Federer. This week's top seed is also a seven-time Wimbledon champion, including last year.

    Up first for Federer is Stebe, whom the 17-time Grand Slam champion has never faced. Stebe ousted qualifier Jimmy Wang 6-2, 6-4 in his opening match on Tuesday as he improved his 2013 ATP-level record to an even 2-2. The German is struggling down at No. 166 in the world, so he needed a wild card in order to get into the main draw. Federer's path to the quarterfinals should be a routine straight-set victory.

    (Q) Jan Hernych vs. Gael Monfils

    Hernych and Monfils will be going head-to-head for the third time in their careers and for the first time in more than four years when they collide on Wednesday. Monfils has won both of their previous encounters; 6-4, 5-7, 6-3 eight seasons ago on the indoor carpet of Lyon and 6-2, 6-2 at the 2009 Doha event.

    Both players pulled off upset wins in round one to reach this stage of the Halle tournament. Hernych ousted Daniel Brands 6-4, 6-2 and Monfils dismissed No. 5 seed Milos Raonic by the same score. The 67th-ranked Frenchman appears to be maintaining his fine form in the aftermath of a runner-up showing in Nice and a third-round performance at Roland Garros. Hernych, a qualifier ranked No. 254 in the world, had not won an ATP-level match in 2013 prior to this week. Monfils in straight sets is the pick.

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Current ATP-rankings

1. Djokovic 12 500 pts
2. Murray 8 750 pts
3. Federer 8 670 pts
4. Ferrer 6 970 pts
5. Nadal 6 385 pts

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