On-form Federer opens Halle campaign with win over Bedene

Federer's straightforward victory in 71 minutes marked his 17th straight on the grass dating to June, 2017.

Federer has won exactly half of his 18 grass trophies at the wooded north German venue.   -  GETTY IMAGES

Roger Federer began his last week of pre-Wimbledon competition with a 6-3, 6-4 defeat of Slovene Aljaz Bedene on Tuesday to reach the second round of the ATP Halle grass event.

The world number one needs to lift a record 10th title here on Sunday in order to remain at the summit of the rankings and assure himself the top seeding at Wimbledon starting a week from Monday.

Federer's straightforward victory in 71 minutes marked his 17th straight on the grass dating to June, 2017, when he lost in Stuttgart to Tommy Haas.

The Halle defending champion, who has a laneway leading to the stadium named in his honour, has won exactly half of his 18 grass trophies at the wooded north German venue.

Federer took back the top ranking from Rafael Nadal for the second time this season last week in Stuttgart as he returned to competition for the first time in three months after avoiding the clay season to prepare fully for the grass.

The 36-year-old Swiss got off to an early break in the opening set against the 72nd-ranked Bedene, who briefly played for Britain.

The top seed swept up the set and finished off the win after breaking for 5-4 in the second set. The Swiss delivered a one-two finishing punch of backhand down the line and forehand winner to advance with ease.

He fired seven aces and never faced a break point; he next plays Benoit Paire, who defeated American Steve Johnson 7-5, 7-6 (7/5).

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