HALLE, Germany (AP) — Defending champion Roger Federer overcame two match points against Benoit Paire to reach the quarterfinals of the Gerry Weber Open with a 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (7) win on Thursday.
Paire rallied after losing the first set to take the second, and the Frenchman defended two match points at 6-5 in the decider to force a tiebreaker. Eight minutes later, it was a match point for the 48th-ranked Paire, and again when a mistake from Federer left it 7-6 in Paire’s favor.
But the top-ranked Swiss took the next three points to close the match in just under two hours at the grass-court tournament.
Federer extended his grass-court winning streak to 18 matches, including his titles in Stuttgart last week and at Halle and Wimbledon last year.
Federer skipped the entire clay-court season for the second year in a row and is now just four wins away from matching Jimmy Connors’ all-time record of 174 victories on grass.
Federer next faces Matthew Ebden of Australia, who upset former champion Philipp Kohlschreiber 4-6, 6-1, 6-2.
Also Thursday, Borna Coric defeated Nikoloz Basilashvili 6-4, 6-2. He next faces Andreas Seppi after the Italian beat Florian Mayer 6-2, 6-4.
Muguruza loses in Birmingham 2nd round, Kvitova advances
BIRMINGHAM, England (AP) — Wimbledon champion Garbine Muguruza tried to look on the bright side of her second-round 6-2, 6-4 defeat to unseeded Barbora Strycova in the Birmingham Classic on Thursday.
“We have a lot of time now to prepare (for Wimbledon). In a way it’s good,” Muguruza said. “I wish I could play more matches, but nothing really worries me.”
The top-seeded Spaniard struggled in windy conditions against the tenacious Czech, who has won their last three encounters on grass.
Muguruza sometimes looked languid in responding to the challenge of a hard-working opponent, and occasionally became irritated by the strong winds.
She also let slip a 4-2 second set lead, and was several times passed when she increased her ratio of net attacks.
“I’m going to practice more to get ready for Wimbledon. I’m not going to do anything very different,” Muguruza said. “I’m staying in the same place and things like that, but I’m not superstitious. I don’t have to do anything special. That’s silly.
“Obviously my level wasn’t at its best. But credit to her. I think she played well.”
Although Muguruza lost in Birmingham last year too, she played four useful warmup matches against two this time. But she also lost to Strycova at Eastbourne a week later last year before going on to win Wimbledon.
Strycova reached the quarterfinals here for a third time and now plays Lesia Tsurenko, the unseeded Ukrainian who overcame sixth-seeded Daria Kasatkina 1-6, 6-3, 6-3.
“I like to fight, on and off the court,” Strycova said. “Sometimes you fight and get a reward.
“You have to play tricky in these conditions, and I did that, although I admit in that last game I was very nervous.”
Earlier, defending champion Petra Kvitova beat Daria Gavrilova, a troublesome opponent in the past, 6-2, 6-2 to reach the quarterfinals.
Gavrilova won their last two matchups being persistent and mobile enough to contain Kvitova’s uncompromising hitting. But the wind pushed and pulled the Australian into errors at important moments.
During Gavrilova’s first two service games, she committed four double faults and lost both service games, helping Kvitova to a rampant start.
“The conditions were tough in that wind,” acknowledged Kvitova, who delivered five double faults herself. “But that’s fine. The grass helped me for sure. We hadn’t played each other on this surface before.”
Fourth-seeded Kvitova next plays Julia Goerges, the world No. 13 from Germany, who beat last year’s runner-up, Ashleigh Barty, 7-6 (6), 6-3.