Rafael Nadal defeated Lukas Lacko 7-5, 6-1 at the Gerry Weber Open on Thursday in the Spaniard’s first singles since clinching his record seventh French Open title.
Nadal broke the Slovak twice in a first set that lasted 50 minutes, before finally overpowering Lacko to take the second in just over half an hour and wrap up the match.
”In the second set I think I did everything better,” said Nadal, who defeated top-ranked Novak Djokovic at Roland Garros on Monday for his 11th Gram Slam title.
”Every hour on court works well for me — on grass — because I don’t have a lot of time to practice. I’m happy to be through, that’s the main thing.”
Five-time winner Roger Federer also progressed, with a 6-4, 7-5 win over Florian Mayer of Germany in an hour and 14 minutes.
Federer used only one of one of five break points in the first set. Both players held their serve in the second — until the 12th game, when Federer sealed the match with a graceful stoke that was beyond the German’s reach.
The Swiss will next play the fifth-seeded Milos Raonic of Canada.
Nadal will next play defending champion Philipp Kohlschreiber, who rallied from a set down and hit 11 aces to defeat Lukasz Kubot of Poland 6-7 (5), 6-1, 6-3.
”I was too anxious and missed too many chances,” Kohlschreiber said of the first set in which he failed to take two break points.
”(But) the early break to make it 2-0 (in the second set) was very good for me.”
The 33rd-ranked Kohlschreiber has never beaten Nadal in their eight meetings.
Also, wild card Tommy Haas of Germany eliminated sixth-seeded Marcel Granollers of Spain 6-3, 6-4 for a quarterfinal date with third-seeded Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic.
Granollers once in the first set before claiming a decisive break in the ninth game of the second.
Haas won the tournament in 2009. At 34, he is the oldest player in the singles draw at Halle.