Usually a strong point in the world No 2’s season, Federer reached the final in Indian Wells but was beaten by Juan Martin del Potro and then lost to Australian outsider Thanasi Kokkinankis in his first match in Miami.
But Federer returned to his beloved grass in Stuttgart earlier today, beginning the first of two tournaments he will use as a warm-up for his Wimbledon defence in July.
And while he lost the first set, the 36-year-old bounced back to record a 3-6, 6-4, 6-2 win over Zverev and book his spot in the quarter-finals.
“I’m happy to have won a match after losing my last two,” Federer said.
“This is a new start. I’m glad to have been able to win again, overcoming some difficult moments after being a set down.
“Mischa’s level dropped in the last two sets and that gave me a chance to win.
But Mischa was unable to convert his strong start into a shock victory as the 20-time Grand Slam champion blew away the cobwebs to win in 95 minutes.
Federer will either face Prajnesh Gunneswaran, who upset Denis Shapovalov, or Guido Pella in the next round but is a strong favourite to pick up yet another title this week.
His main challenge from the bottom half of the draw is likely to come from defending champion Lucas Pouille, who dispatched German 17-year-old wildcard Rudolf Molleker in straight sets to ease into a quarter-final clash with Denis Istomin.
“It feels a lot like home here, since it’s only two hours of driving from Basel.
“It’s a great place, but I’m hoping for some sun this week.”
Zverev’s younger brother Alexander is world No 3 and is expected to challenge Federer for top honours at Wimbledon next month.
Source : EXPRESS