Halle: Jo-Wilfried Tsonga said it would be "something special" to face Roger Federer in the second round of the ATP tournament in Halle after he beat compatriot Benoit Paire in straight sets on Tuesday.
"I am happy to have won because Benoit is a dangerous player. It is always difficult to dominate against him, you always feel like the game can change at any moment," Tsonga told AFP.
Tsonga broke Paire's serve early in the first set and looked the better player as he battled to a 6-4, 7-5 win to set up a potential meeting with Federer, who later plays Australian John Millman. "It is always something special to play Roger," said Tsonga.
The 30-year-old Paire, infamous for his on-court tantrums, was given a warning in the first set after throwing his racket but had the crowd laughing in the second when he and Tsonga, 34, engaged in a spontaneous 'keepy-uppy' rally. Paire dropped his racket while serving. Tsonga's timely return meant that Paire couldn't retrieve his racket in time and kicked the ball back which Tsonga returned in the same fashion as both kept the rally going.
Last year's winner Borna Coric eased to a straight sets win over Spain's Jaume Munar in his first-round tie, winning 7-6 (7/2), 6-3 to set up a second-round tie with Portugal's Joao Sousa. Home favourite Jan-Lennard Struff also reached the second round with a 6-4, 6-4 win over Serbia's Laslo Djere, his first ever singles victory in Halle.
"I used to live nearby. I would come here every year and lose, so it is great to have finally won," said Struff. However, Mats Moraing, Peter Gojowczyk and Rudolf Molleker, all from Germany, were knocked out on Tuesday.
Moraing lost 4-6, 6-7 (4/7) to Italy's Andreas Seppi while Ukrainian Sergiy Stakhovsky came from behind to beat Molleker 3-6, 7-6 (8/6), 6-2. Gojowczyk was crushed 6-3, 6-4 by France's Richard Gasquet.
Gasquet will face seventh seed Roberto Bautista Agut in the second round after the Spaniard cruised to a 7-6 (12/10), 6-0 victory over American Taylor Fritz. Elsewhere, Belgium's David Goffin thrashed eighth seed Guido Pella 6-1, 6-1.
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Updated Date: Jun 18, 2019 22:22:08 IST