HALLE: Roger Federer struggled in an awkward match before advancing to the Gerry Weber Open tennis quarterfinals Thursday with a 7-5, 6-3 win against Jan Vacek.

Federer faced surprisingly strong resistance from the Czech qualifier, ranked 342nd, before smashing a crosscourt volley to break serve for a decisive 4-3 lead in the second set. “It was difficult,” Federer said. “When it happens you can’t play your game and it isn’t working, then it’s a surprise..”

Federer ran his win streak on grass to 56 matches, including 22 at Halle, dating back to 2003.

He has won four titles here, going on to win Wimbledon three weeks later each time.

Roddick gets a break

Andy Roddick reached the quarterfinals at Queen’s Club when Mardy Fish retired with a left ankle injury after losing the opening set 7-6(5).

Roddick, the defending champion, struggled to gain the upper hand and faced two break points at 2-2 before holding. Fish, who in March defeated Roger Federer to reach the final at Indian Wells, held off three break points in the next game, hitting two aces and then a forehand winner before holding with his seventh ace. Games then continued to go with serve, and a single mini-break for 2-0 in the tiebreaker was enough to earn third-seeded Roddick the set. Fish, who had fallen on the slippery surface, then received treatment to his ankle and decided not to continue the match.

The results: At Halle (Gerry Weber Open): Second round: Roger Federer bt Jan Vacek 7-5, 6-3; Michael Llodra bt Steve Darcis 7-6(6), 7-6(3). Doubles: Quarterfinals: Lukas Dlouhy & Leander Paes bt Michael Berrer & Tommy Haas 6-3, 6-4.

At London (The Artois Championship): Third round: Andy Roddick bt Mardy Fish 7-6(5) retired; Ivo Karlovic bt Fernando Gonzalez 6-3, 7-5.

At Warsaw (Orange Warsaw Open): Second round: SGuillermo Canas bt Santiago Ventura 6-2, 1-6, 6-3; Oscar Hernandez bt Albert Montanes 6-3, 6-2; Fabio Fognini bt Christophe Rochus 5-4 retired.

At Barcelona (Barcelona KIA Championships): Second round: Lucie Safarova bt Arantxa Parra Santonja 7-5, 4-6, 6-3; Edina Gallovits bt Klara Zakopalova 6-2, 6-0; Ekaterina Ivanova bt Maria Kondratieva 1-6, 6-1, 7-5. — Agencies

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