Rain limits Federer return to 20 minutes

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Switzerland’s Roger Federer reacts as he plays against US Taylor Fritz in their round of sixteen match at the ATP Mercedes Cup tennis tournament in Stuttgart, southwestern Germany, on Thursday.  AFP PHOTO

Switzerland’s Roger Federer reacts as he plays against US Taylor Fritz in their round of sixteen match at the ATP Mercedes Cup tennis tournament in Stuttgart, southwestern Germany, on Thursday. AFP PHOTO

STUTTGART, Germany: Roger Federer’s return to action lasted just 20 minutes on Wednesday (Thursday in Manila) when heavy rain led to an overnight suspension of his opening Stuttgart ATP grasscourt clash against American teenager Taylor Fritz.

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Federer was 4-3 ahead when action was halted for the day.

The massive rain dump, which lasted for up to an hour, prevented any more play on the lawns of the Wesissenhof Club before the 34-year-old raced off to a waiting car with security in his wake after tweeting news of the day’s cancellation.

“Unfortunately we can’t play today anymore, too much of this stuff ???????????? See you tomorrow @MercedesCup,” the top seed wrote.

Federer was a break up against his 18-year-old opponent with whom he trained last summer at Wimbledon.

The Swiss veteran was playing for the first time since losing a May 12 match against Dominic Thiem in Rome with a back injury then ruling him out of the French Open.

Federer last competed in Stuttgart a decade and a half ago when it was a Masters event and played indoors.

Fritz is making his debut at the German venue and has never beaten a top 10-player (0-2).

The Thursday program will feature Federer and Fritz resuming and second seed Marin Cilic, one of three Grand Slam champions in the field along with Federer and Juan Martin del Potro, opening against qualifier Radek Stepanek.

Only two matches were completed on Wednesday before the heavy weather moved in.

German seventh seed Philipp Kohlschreiber enjoyed a 7-5, 6-3 win over Denis Kudla while compatriot Florian Mayer reached the last eight of a tournament for the first time in a year, beating another German, Michael Berrer 6-3, 3-6, 6-4.

AFP

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