- ATP Tour
Federer eases past Stebe in straight sets
Roger Federer is on course to win his fifth Gerry Weber Open title after a 6-3 6-3 second round victory over Germany's Cedrik-Marcel Stebe in Halle.
The Swiss had Stebe under pressure from the start, breaking in the very first game with several deep forehands which had the world No. 166 pegged to the baseline.
Stebe failed to break back, handing number one seed Federer several easy points for a routine service hold. The 17-time grand slam singles champion returned the favour with misplaced backhands to allow Stebe his first game on the board.
It proved a momentary lapse from the world No. 3 as Federer again hit deep towards the baseline to force the pressure; it soon paid off as Stebe netted his forehand to gift the double break.
The German rallied in his response, breaking to pull it back to 5-3, but Federer wrapped up the first set in 33 minutes when Stebe slammed his cross-court backhand into the net.
It proved a similar story in the second, as Federer broke early once more to establish the advantage when Stebe's forehand went too long.
Federer hardly had to move out of second gear as his opponent offered little resistance when facing serve, and despite Stebe looking to settle himself with two holds, Federer simply appeared too strong when defending his own.
Despite suffering a second double fault when serving for his first match point, Federer did not make the same mistake when rushing to volley a backhand winner over the net and complete victory in little over an hour.
"I was satisfied with my performance even if there were things I could have done better," Federer said. "I hope to get stronger with each match.
"Any title is good for your confidence. I want to be in the best position to do well here in Halle then at Wimbledon. I feel that my best chance is here."
Federer now faces world No. 156 Mischa Zverev in the quarter-final after the German saw off Mirza Basic 7-6(5) 6-3.
Elsewhere, Mikhail Youzhny overcame fourth seed Kei Nishikori 6-1 6-7(4) 6-3 to book his place in the quarter-final.
Gael Monfils, who has withdrawn his request for a Wimbledon wildcard for personal reasons, defeated qualifier Jan Hernych 6-2 6-3.