HALLE, Germany (AP) — Roger Federer began his grass-court preparations for Wimbledon by coming from behind to beat Joao Sousa of Portugal 6-7 (8), 6-4, 6-2 at the Gerry Weber Open on Thursday.
Sousa saved all five break points he faced before taking the first set in a tiebreaker, but the second-seeded Federer raised his level in the next two sets to win the second-round match and move into the quarterfinals.
"It was important to stay calm, and actually it gives me more confidence winning this way than maybe just 6-4, 6-4 and you don't quite know what is going on," said Federer, who acknowledged he was worried after losing the first set.
It was the seven-time Wimbledon winner's first match since losing in the fourth round at the French Open to Ernests Gulbis. He had a first-round bye in Halle, where he is a six-time champion.
"The first day when I came here to practice it was bit so-so, and everyday after that was very good," Federer said.
He will next play Taiwan's Lu Yen-hsun, who defeated Croatia's Ivo Karlovic 7-6 (2), 7-6 (3).
"I will have to adjust in the sense that there will be more baseline duels," said Federer, who was also playing a doubles match later. "We'll see. But I think it's positive that I spent more time on the court today."
Top-seeded Rafael Nadal was playing Dustin Brown later Thursday in his first match since winning his ninth French Open title.