Federer makes winning return…just

Roger Federer advanced to the quarter-finals of the Mercedes Cup following a hard fought win over Taylor Fritz on Thursday.

The Swiss Maestro, playing in his first match since 12 May, fought off a second set comeback to emerge victorious 6-4, 5-7, 6-4 on the grass courts of Stuttgart in Germany.

A single break of serve was enough to see Federer clinch the opening set, which started on Wednesday but could only be completed a day later after it was postponed due to rain.

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

The American then needed four break points to edge Federer and force a deciding set.

Again the pair were inseparable on serve, until Federer capitalised on his second break point of the set to break the 18-year-old Fritz, before serving out the match in style.

The world number three books himself a date with Florian Meyer in the last eight.

The win also sees Federer move to 1071 match wins in the Open Era, tied second with Ivan Lendl. Legend Jimmy connors leads the list with 1256 wins.

Second seed Marin Cilic was not as fortunate, going down 7-6 (7-4), 7-5 to Radek Stepanek.

In other results, third seed Dominic Thiem battled past Australia’s Sam Groth 7-6(3), 7-6(2), while Juan Martin Del Potro, Gilles Simon and Mikhail Youzhny were also winners on the day.