• Kyodo


Swiss superstar Roger Federer ushered Yuichi Sugita to a first-round exit Tuesday at the Gerry Weber Open.

World No. 5 and top seed Federer needed just 52 minutes to beat the 66th-ranked Sugita 6-3, 6-1 for the 1,100th win of his career, second behind American Jimmy Connors (1,256) on the all-time list.

“It (the 1,100 milestone) was mentioned in Stuttgart but I had forgotten about it,” Federer told atpworldtour.com. “I appreciate these numbers way more today than ever before.

“I think I can embrace them more. It’s a big number and I’m very happy to have a chance to hopefully add some more wins to that number,” the 35-year-old said.

Federer hit his fourth ace to claim the opening set in only 21 minutes. For the match, Federer won 90 percent of his first-serve points (26/29).

The former world No. 1 had been scheduled to play Lu Yen-hsun of Taiwan but the 33-year old had to withdraw because of a right arm injury. Sugita made the main draw as a lucky loser, having been beaten by Russian Mikhail Youzhny in qualifying.

“I found out around the same time that everybody else did, around 12 o’clock,” Federer said.

“Then I wasn’t sure if it was going to be Sugita or somebody else. I had to wait and see if there were going to be any more changes and a different opponent coming my way. I saw the third-set breaker between Sugita and Youzhny. I saw the last 20 points of that epic match.

“I had a little bit of an idea how (Sugita) plays,” he continued. “I’ve seen him practice here and he’s really made a run recently. I got some info from coaches and other players and coaches, so I got the full scouting report. But of course, I tried to play on my terms.”

Sugita found out he was playing 18-time Grand Slam winner Federer for the first time in his career around five hours before the match and admitted it was hard to hold his nerve.

“I felt it would be impossible to keep a cool head,” Sugita said.

“It is not often that you get to take on Federer, and on a grass court. I am very proud that I was able to play against him.”

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