Roger Federer sent a resounding message about his Wimbledon chances by swatting aside Yuichi Sugita in just 52 minutes at the Gerry Weber Open in Halle.
Federer’s readiness for the third grand slam of the year, which starts in 12 days’ time, looked in doubt last week, when he lost to world No. 302 Tommy Haas in the first round in Stuttgart.
But the Swiss produced an ominously smooth display against Sugita, breezing past the Japanese 6-3 6-1 to book his place in round two.
“I played some good tennis, some nice points,” Federer told the official ATP website.
“I played the way I wanted to play – aggressively. I took charge from the baseline and served well. Overall, I’m very happy.”
Federer was scheduled to face Lu Yen-hsun on Tuesday but the 33-year-old pulled out with an arm injury, meaning that Sugita was thrust into the main draw.
The change gave Federer a few hours to prepare for his world No. 66 opponent but the 18-time grand slam champion experienced few problems.
“I found out around the same time that everybody else did, around 12 o’clock,” Federer said.
“I had a little bit of an idea how [Sugita] plays. 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.”
Federer will now play Germany’s Mischa Zverev, whom he beat in the Australian Open quarterfinals after Zverev had knocked out Andy Murray in Melbourne.
Zverev’s younger brother, Alexander, is also through after he overcame Italian Paolo Lorenzi while Kei Nishikori fought back from a set down to defeat Fernando Verdasco.
Bernard Tomic, Florian Mayer, Lucas Pouille and Roberto Bautista-Agut are also safely through.