There are hallmarks of the old Federer in Halle. Or perhaps it should be ratcheted up as the new and improved Roger, whose idea of playing a waiting game this weather is clubbing winners whenever the mood takes him.

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The Swiss artist’s indomitable spirit continues to travel far and beyond his favoured outpost of the Gerry Weber Open in Germany where his final preparations for Wimbledon traditionally begin to gather pace. It is fair to say, 35-year-old Roger played two tournaments in one day on Tuesday.
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Federer has never touched Queen’s Club in his 19 years as a professional and is unlikely to sample the event before he takes his seat among the tennis Gods, but his presence pierced the old joint in west London despite being over 600 miles away at an event he is bidding to win for just the ninth time.
While Federer was dismissing Japanese qualifier Yuichi Sugita 6-3 6-1 with an ominously assured first grass court win of the year, Andy Murray found himself tortured by his inability to translate desire into fulfilment against Jordan Thompson, a willing world number 90.

Roger Federer of Switzerland celebrates after winning his match against Yuichi Sugita of Japan during Day 4 of the Gerry Weber Open 2017 at on June 20, 2017 in Halle.

Image credit: Eurosport

The news reached Queen’s that Federer had won his first match at Halle in only 52 minutes at the same moment Murray’s shots were missing the target with more regularity than a Jacobite picking up a musket for the first time.
In analysing the whole shooting match, it was difficult to understand how Murray made it to world number one on a truly lamentable day at the office.
The Scot got himself into an awful muddle in the first set, lost it on the tiebreak before wandering off downhill in being broken twice to go out of the tournament with about as much resistance as an ice cream trying to remain upright amid temperatures touching 38 degrees in the British capital.

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Federer had no such problems. Both Murray and Federer’s opponents were lucky losers in reaching their respective first rounds of Halle and Queen’s yet the contrast in how both men were treated was stark. Federer revelled in a winning first serve percentage of 90 percent, Murray made only 53 of his first serves.
It was Federer's 1,100 win on tour. He would embarrass Murray on this outing.
While a weirdly subdued Murray was largely outplayed by Aussie Thompson, Federer was all over the world number 66 Sugita like a man with a healthy disdain for time wasting, taking the ball early and continuing to fraternise with the form of table tennis that saw him dominate the early months of the year in snaring the Australian Open, Miami and Indian Wells.
He next faces Mischa Zverev on Thursday for a place in the last eight knowing a victory will secure a top-four seeding for Wimbledon thus preventing the possibility of meeting Murray, Novak Djokovic or Rafael Nadal before the semi-finals. He is feeling good about himself.
I played some good tennis, some nice points. I played the way I wanted to play: aggressive, took charge from the baseline and served well. Overall, I’m very happy.
Back on the faster courts after wisely opting out of the Rafael Nadal dominated clay campaign, Federer is gathering pace at exactly the right time. To such an extent that there is a summer tailwind behind him less than a fortnight before Wimbledon starts on July 3.
His defeat over three sets to world number 302 Tommy Haas in the first round in Stuttgart suddenly feels like an outlier. Federer looks impeccably placed to make good on his status as favourite for Wimbledon, and a tangibly placed 19th Grand Slam.
While others were losing their heads around him amid the plush environs of West Kensington, Federer was reasserting the pristine levels of play that saw him dominate the opening months of this calendar year.

Roger Federer of Switzerland plays a backhand during his match against Yuichi Sugita of Japan during Day 4 of the Gerry Weber Open 2017 at on June 20, 2017

Image credit: Eurosport

And it is not just Murray who is left trying to catch a break after Queen's.
He was picked off after Milos Raonic, last year's Wimbledon finalist, succumbed to world number 698 Thanasi Kokkinakis, a figure with an equally booming serve.
Stanislas Wawrinka was then defeated in straight sets by Feliciano Lopez as he struggled with left knee pain. Stan looks like he will toil to make the great leap forward required to challenge at Wimbledon, a tournament where his best remains the last eight.
Of course, it is difficult to read too much into form. It is merely viewing life through a small prism of the here and now.

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Murray may yet recover remarkably after this setback, but there is serious work to be done to reach a level needed to sustain a challenge for Wimbledon.
Nadal opted out of Queen’s after his exhausting run in winning Roland Garros while Djokovic has been making noises about taking a break from the sport after his brutal defeat to Dominic Thiem at the French Open.
Perhaps another figure will emerge at Wimbledon, but wisdom lends the feeling that the tried and trusted will prosper. Like Nadal in Paris, conditions favour Federer, a figure reborn from the knee injury that buried the last six months of last year.
He can suddenly feel the warm breeze of summer drifting towards him from London. He already looks up to speed.
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