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Federer made a winning return in Stuttgart

Federer made a winning return in Stuttgart

Only Jimmy Connors (1,256) has now won more career matches than Federer.

When play resumed today, Federer stamped a love hold for 5-3 before saving a break point to seize a one-set lead.

Federer will face German qualifier Florian Mayer in the quarter-finals on Friday.

In his first match in a month, Roger Federer overcame a stiff challenge from American teenager Taylor Fritz to reach the Mercedes Cup quarterfinals with a 6-4, 5-7, 6-4 win on Thursday. I managed to get the break at the very end of the third.

Federer, who last played in a third-round Rome loss to Dominic Thiem, then missed the French Open, is building for another run at Wimbledon, where he is a seven-time champion.

"This was the biggest win of my career on grass", Thiem said after beating the 2002 Stuttgart champion (on clay).

This latest victory added another landmark achievement for Federer, a 17-time Grand Slam victor, who moved ahead of Ivan Lendl into second place on the all-time list for ATP career match wins with 1,072. "I'm very happy to have won my first match in Stuttgart".

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In the second set, Fritz fought off two break points to make it five games all.

"If I'd known I would take a set off of Federer I would have been pretty happy", Fritz said.

"It was Federer (out there), but I wasn't afraid to try and take the match".

After that, both players settled into a nice rhythm on serve, with 8 quick and fluid service games, leaving Federer to serve to stay in the set in game 12.

The home player could do little to get a foothold in the breaker as Federer produced some stunning serves and dragged his opponent back and forth with a tremendous variety of shots, and Mayer was 5-1 down at the change of ends.

Argentine Juan Martin del Potro needed four match points to finally tame Australian John Millman 6-4, 6-4. Roger handled the pressure better, winning all the points on his serve and making 3 mini breaks in Florian's 4 services to win it 7-2. But this is only my first grass week and I have to deal with that and my wrist recovery.

Thiem, from Austria, came from behind to beat Mikhail Youzhny of Russian Federation 3-6, 6-4, 7-5.

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