Seven-time champion Roger Federer was taken to a third set tie-break by Germany’s Philipp Kohlschreiber before sealing a 7-6 3-6 7-6 win in round one of the Gerry Weber Open.
This was the ninth time the two players have met and the closest the 31-year-old German has come to a win over the world number two, having led 5-3 in the third set tie-breaker.
Federer claimed the next four points to seal a nerve-wracking win and will face either Ernests Gulbis of Latvia or Ukrainian Sergej Stachowski in round two.
Roger Federer and Philipp Kohlschreiber
Speaking after the win, Federer admitted there was nothing between him and the world number 28.
“He could have won today and would have deserved it” said Federer.
“I was lucky, although I’d already been thinking that this may not be my day. I know him well, we practice together, we know each other’s game.
“The first round on grass is always difficult and complicated.”
Results from the Halle Open Men’s Singles Round 1 matches on Monday
Florian Mayer (Germany) beat Jan-Lennard Struff (Germany) 6-2 0-6 7-6(4)