Gerry Weber Open 2013: Analyzing Top Men's Players in Grass Court Season Opener

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Gerry Weber Open 2013: Analyzing Top Men's Players in Grass Court Season Opener
Photo Credit: Bongarts/Getty Images (via ATPWorldTour.com)

The Gerry Weber Open in Halle, Germany, co-functions as the beginning of the 2013 ATP grass-court season and one of four tournaments preceding the year's third Grand Slam event.

Friday's quarterfinal action was headlined by Roger Federer, who is a living legend on the surface and nearly unbeatable as an unprecedented seven-time champion at Wimbledon. He didn't drop a game against Mischa Zverev in a 6-0, 6-0 romp.

Some players have elected to partake in the Aegon Championships in London, which are going on concurrently with this marquee tennis showcase.

Although the tournament in London boasts some star power, Federer wasn't the only big name making headlines in Halle.

Below is a closer look at Federer's dominant form after a disappointing exit at the French Open, as well as the resurgence of Richard Gasquet and Tommy Haas.

Note: Statistics and player information are courtesy of ATPWorldTour.com.

 

Roger Federer (1)

The immense success Federer has had on grass almost goes without saying, but his opponent was simply outmatched on this occasion.

BBC Sport pointed out just how rare the occasion was for the 17-time Grand Slam winner, despite the fact that he's arguably the greatest player of all time:

It took a mere 39 minutes to defeat Zverev and proved that Federer has bounced back from the straight-sets loss to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga that bounced him from Roland Garros in the quarterfinals.

Federer hasn't encountered too much resistance throughout his first two relatively stress-free and short matches, but Tommy Haas will present a difficult matchup in the semis.

It was Haas who beat Federer in the Gerry Weber Open final last year, notching a sentimental upset victory in his native Germany. Haas also had a solid run in the French Open, eventually bowing out in the quarterfinals just as Federer did, but to world No. 1 Novak Djokovic.

 

Richard Gasquet (2)

There has never been a question about Gasquet's talent, but a rather unfair cocaine ban kept him out of competitive tennis for over two months back in 2009, and that thwarted his progression.

It knocked Gasquet off course enough to fall as low as 86th in the ATP rankings in March 2010, but he's clearly regained his form in reentering the Top 10.

Gasquet is phenomenally fit and possesses a strong backhand that can frustrate opponents, and Ben Rothenberg of The New York Times pointed out an interesting fact about this year's semifinals in that context:

Florian Mayer is a quirky player who is always dangerous, but it took just one minor slip-up to ultimately cost him Friday's match, which Gasquet won 6-3, 7-6 (4).

The opening set was seized when Gasquet converted his only break point of the match, then proceeded to edge out his talented foe in the tiebreaker.

 

Tommy Haas (3)

On a day where his compatriots went a combined 0-3, it was the cagey veteran Haas who rose to the challenge against talented Frenchman Gael Monfils, who is attempting to reascend in the ATP rankings after formerly being as high as No. 7.

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Haas held his own after dropping a tiebreaker to Monfils, battling back to win the next two sets by a score of 6-3.

The 31-year-old Haas was as high as second in the world during his heyday in 2002, though he never managed to win a Grand Slam title.

Given the multiple future Hall of Famers he has to face today, it's unlikely to happen, but he has a golden opportunity to beat Federer for the second consecutive year in front of a warm home crowd.

From 2010 to 2011, Haas suffered through shoulder and hip injuries that stymied his career, as well as two shoulder surgeries before that in 2003, but he's coming back in a big way in 2013, having already won a singles title in Munich earlier in the year.

Tennis TV captured the passion on display from Haas, who still has something left in the tank and an evident love for the sport:

Another triumph over the likes of "King Roger" would give Haas plenty of momentum to drive forward and continue his success.

If Haas serves as well as he did against Monfils on Friday, in winning 86 percent of his first-serve points, there's reason to believe he could pull off another improbable win.

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