Local favorite Kiefer knocks Clement out on Halle grass

HALLE, Germany, Reuters

Local favorite Nicolas Kiefer recovered from his first round exit at the French Open by crushing fourth seed Arnaud Clement of France 6-3, 6-4 on Tuesday to reach the second round of the Halle ATP tournament.

Kiefer, who won the grasscourt event in 1999, played close to perfection to move past Australian Open finalist Clement in just 65 minutes.

The 23-year old German, who has struggled over the past few months, now meets Swede Jonas Bjorkman.

Kiefer needed only 27 minutes to wrap up the first set. Clement then fought back from a break down in the second set but dropped serve again to trail 5-4 before bowing out.

On a good day for Germany, Davis Cup player Rainer Schuettler beat Nicolas Lapentti of Ecuador 6-4, 6-4 and now plays top-seeded Russian Yevgeny Kafelnikov, who has won the tournament twice.