Fixture: (5) Roger Federer vs (Q) Ilya Ivashka
Date: 14 June 2021
Tournament: Noventi Open 2021
Round: First round (Round of 32)
Venue: Halle, Germany
Category: ATP 500
Prize money: 1,318,605
Match timing: Approx. 3 pm local time, 1 pm GMT, 9 am EST, 6.30 pm IST
Live telecast: USA - Tennis Channel
Roger Federer vs Ilya Ivashka preview
Roger Federer will return to grass for the first time since Wimbledon 2019 when he takes court at the Noventi Open in Halle on Monday. Federer, a 10-time champion at Halle, will face Ilya Ivashka in the first round.
Ivashka has come through a couple of qualifying rounds in the German event, and is ranked outside the top 50.
Federer, on his part, enters the Noventi Open as one of the favorites despite not having played much lately. The World No. 8 won just one match in Doha and Geneva combined, before entering the Roland Garros event for the first time in two years.
Roger Federer did surprise many with his exploits in Paris though. He made it to the fourth round there, after beating Denis Istomin, Marin Cilic and Dominik Koepfer with some quality tennis.
Federer withdrew before his fourth-round matchup against Matteo Berrettini, citing the need to protect his body ahead of the grass season. The Swiss has always regarded grass as his best surface, and many believe Wimbledon is his best chance at winning another Slam before he retires.
But playing on grass, especially in the opening rounds, is never an easy task given how quickly things can change. It remains to be seen how the 20-time Major champion fares, and more importantly, how his surgically repaired knee holds up.
Ilya Ivashka, meanwhile, beat Tatsuma Ito and James Duckworth to make it to the main draw at Halle. The World No. 90 has already played on grass this year; he overcame a couple of qualifying rounds at the MercedesCup in Stuttgart but fell in the first round to Peter Gojowczyk.
Roger Federer vs Ilya Ivashka head-to-head
Roger Federer and Ilya Ivashka will be meeting for the first time on tour, and so their head-to-head currently stands at 0-0.
Roger Federer vs Ilya Ivashka prediction
Standing at 6'4", Ilya Ivashka has a serve that can be very potent on grass. But across the net will be one of the finest grasscourt retuners ever in the form of Roger Federer.
The Swiss will try to nullify Ivashka's serve with his sliced and blocked returns. Ivashka would also have to be wary of charging to the net; Federer's passing shots have been known to leave many players lunging in vain.
The 39-year-old displayed some fantastic serving at Roland Garros, but he did lack his usual consistency. He will hope that the familiar courts in Halle help his serve regain its former oomph, which in turn would help him keep the points short.
Federer will also be relying heavily on his forehand, a shot that went missing at times against Dominik Koepfer in Paris. If he is able to find the timing on it quickly enough, he could end up making short work of Ivashka.
Prediction: Roger Federer to win in straight sets.