Levy draws mighty Roger Federer in Halle

30-year-old to play Swiss tennis genius in first round of Gerry Weber Open in Germany, after getting the better of Lukas Lacko of Slovakia.

June 9, 2009 05:29
1 minute read.
Levy draws mighty Roger Federer in Halle

harel levy 88. (photo credit: )

Israel's Harel Levy is set to have the dubious honor of facing Roger Federer in his first match since he completed a career Grand Slam by winning at Roland Garros on Sunday. The 30-year-old was drawn to play the Swiss tennis genius in the first round of the Gerry Weber Open in Halle, Germany, after getting the better of Lukas Lacko of Slovakia 6-7 (4), 6-4, 6-2 in the third and final qualifying round on Monday. Federer has won the grass-court tournament in Halle in his last five appearances in the event, but Levy (231 in the world) might still be spared a meeting with the 14-time Grand Slam winner, who said on Monday that he was considering withdrawing from the tournament. Also in Halle, Dudi Sela lost 1-6, 6-4, 6-2 to Florent Serra in the first round, hours after climbing to a career-best number 47 in the world rankings. Federer was speaking with reporters at a hotel in central Paris on Monday, a day after defeating Robin Soderling 6-1, 7-6 (1), 6-4 in the French Open final. "I'm just mentally drained and exhausted - and just so happy and thrilled," Federer said, his new trophy in tow. Of the 19 times he has reached the final of a Grand Slam tournament, equaling Ivan Lendl's mark, this was the first time Federer played two five-set matches along the way. He dropped the first two sets of his fourth-round match against Tommy Haas before coming back, then trailed against Juan Martin del Potro in the quarterfinals before coming through in five sets. "It's different for me to come through this way, instead of just dominating everybody," Federer said. He said he's not too concerned about regaining the No. 1 ranking he lost to Rafael Nadal. No, Federer's priority is winning more Grand Slams. The first chance to get No. 15 and surpass Pete Sampras comes at Wimbledon, which begins June 22. Federer's French Open victory cut the points gap between him and Nadal in the ATP rankings by more than half. The second-ranked Federer trailed Nadal by 4,490 points before the tournament at Roland Garros; the deficit is 2,070 points in Monday's rankings. Federer held the No. 1 ranking for a record 237 consecutive weeks, until Nadal surpassed him in August. French Open runner-up Soderling moved up to a career-best No. 12 from No. 25. He stunned four-time defending champion Nadal in the fourth round in Paris.

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