‘Roger Federer played miles below his best in Halle,’ former WTA star recalls

Roger Federer has been a regular guest in Halle for two decades. The Swiss claimed ten titles at one of his favorite tournaments, and it would often propel him towards the Wimbledon glory a few weeks later. Last year, Federer competed in Halle for the 18th time and failed to reach the quarter-final.

Roger experienced his earliest Halle exit to Felix Auger-Aliassime, who beat him 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 in an hour and 44 minutes. It was the first encounter between the players who share birthdays and Federer’s first match against an opponent born in the 2000s.

Felix played well in sets two and three to oust the ten-time champion and advance into the last eight a week after playing the Stuttgart final. Pam Shriver said Roger played way below his best in sets two and three, struggling on serve and return to hit the exit door.

Federer withdrew from Roland Garros after three wins to preserve energy for the grass swing. Still, he did not look good on his favorite surface in the opening two matches, struggling against Ilya Ivashka and losing ground versus Auger-Aliassime after the opener.

The young gun fired 13 aces and faced only one break point that cost him the first set. After that, he had a massive advantage and sailed through his games while converting three out of 15 break chances to leave Federer behind.

The more experienced player defended all four break chances in the opening set and seized his only opportunity on the return to build the advantage.

Roger Federer failed to reach quarters in Halle for the first time in 18 trips.

Serving at 5-4, Roger fired two winners at 15-40 to erase break points and brought the set home with a volley winner.

Felix lost only seven points behind the initial shot in set number two, keeping the pressure on the other side and seizing the ninth break chance since the start of the clash to grab the set and gain momentum. Federer struggled on serve in games four and six and fell on the fifth break chance to find himself 4-2 down.

Felix closed the set in style and pushed even harder in the decider. He dropped two points in his games and challenged Roger to repeat those numbers. Federer could not match that pace, struggling more and more and getting broken twice to find himself 4-0 down.

The Canadian never looked back and sealed the deal with an ace at 5-2 to serve Roger’s earliest Halle exit. “I do not think Roger should compete if he’s significantly below Roger Federer-level. I thought the final two sets in Halle were way below his best tennis,” Pam Shriver said.

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