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Nadal, Federer enjoy comfortable opening wins to grass-court season

HALLE, Germany -- Newly crowned French Open champion Rafael Nadal and five-time champion Roger Federer both enjoyed comfortable opening wins to their grass-court season at Halle on Thursday.

Nadal defeated Slovakia's Lukas Lacko 7-5, 6-1 in the second round while Federer also cruised into the quarterfinals with a 6-4, 7-5 win over Germany's Florian Mayer.

Spanish world number two Nadal, playing at the German venue for the first time since 2005, will tackle German eighth seed Philipp Kohlschreiber in the quarterfinals.

Kohlschreiber, the defending champion, made the last eight with a 6-7 (5/7), 6-1, 6-3 win over Poland's Lukasz Kubot.

Nadal, who captured a record seventh Roland Garros title on Monday, has won all his eight career meetings with the German.

“In the second set, I served better, the forehand had more control, I played more aggressive. I'm happy to be through,” said Nadal.

“I haven't played here for a long time. As I said, every hour I spend on the court works for me on the grass because I haven't had a lot of time to adapt. Tomorrow is a big challenge because Philipp is the defending champion.

“He's a very complete player. He does everything well.”

Top-seeded Nadal last played this tournament seven years ago, fresh from his first French Open title but suffered a rude awakening on his debut on grass, losing in the first round to Alexander Waske.

Nadal took just 75 minutes to complete his fourth win against Lacko, who is one of the few players on tour to have won a set to love against the Spaniard, achieving the feat in Doha earlier this year.

World number three Federer will tackle Canadian fifth seed Milos Raonic on Friday for a place in the semifinals of this Wimbledon tune-up event.

Federer, who missed last year's tournament, needed just 74 minutes to see off Mayer.

The Swiss star, who was champion in Halle in 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2008, was playing his first match since losing to Novak Djokovic in the French Open semifinals.

“I'm very happy with the way things went today. I obviously knew playing against Mayer in the first round was going to be tricky,” said Federer.

“He's in the top 30 and has been to the quarterfinals of Wimbledon. And I've played him here on grass before, so I know how tough he can be.”

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Spain's Rafael Nadal hits the ball during his second-round match against Slovakia's Lukas Lacko at the ATP Gerry Weber Open tennis tournament in Halle, western Germany, Thursday, June 14. Nadal won 7-5, 6-1 to advance to the quarterfinals. (AFP)

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