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Federer's return to Gstaad cut short by inspired Brands

Friday, July 26, 2013 - 8:00am

 Roger Federer's first appearance in Gstaad for nine years lasted just over an hour as the former World No.1 made an untimely exit to Germany's Daniel Brands.

Still experimenting with a larger racquet head, the Swiss maestro was always struggling against an opponent he beat in an ATP tournament in Hamburg last week, going down 6-3 6-4 in 66 minutes.

The defeat continues a sorry run for the 17-time grand slam champion, losing in the second round of his Wimbledon title defense and then falling at the semifinal stage in Germany on his return to action.

After his defeat, Federer said he had been suffering with back problems, but had decided to press ahead with his return to the Swiss venue.

"I only decided after today's warm-up whether I would play or not," he told the official ATP Tour website.

"I'm happy that I was able to play because I've had problems for some time now, already in Hamburg. "But it didn't get worse during today's match. I'm positive and I felt that it was getting better during the last few days."

Brands, ranked 55th in the world, was always on top, serving decisively with 11 aces and achieving a single break against the favorite in each set.

The 31-year-old Federer could take none of his five break point opportunities to leave the home crowd at the clay court tournament disappointed.

He famously was presented with cow when he played in Gstaad in 2003 after claiming his first Wimbledon crown and won the event on his last appearance in 2004.

Federer's only tournament title in 2013 came on his favorite grass at Halle, but his Wimbledon challenge was cruelly ended by Ukraine's world number 116 Sergiy Stakhovsky on the first Wednesday.

It ended the record 36 consecutive grand slam quarterfinal appearances for the Swiss, amid talk his powers were waning.

In other action, former champion Marcel Granollers of Spain ended the run of Federico Delbonis with a 6-2 7-5 victory to reach the quarterfinals.

Argentina's Delbonis, who shocked Federer in the semifinals in Hamburg, also put out defending Gstaad champion Thomas Bellucci in the first round, but could find no answer against Granollers.

He will play Dutchman Robin Haase, who saw off third seed Janko Tipsarevic of Serbia in straight sets, while Brands will take on Victor Hanescu of Romania.

Hanescu benefited from the second set retirement of Roberto Bautista Agut in their second round match.


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