Tommy Haas is looking forward to a meeting with his good friend Roger Federer in the second round of the Stuttgart Open after winning through on Tuesday.
The veteran German was a beaten finalist in this tournament as far back as 1999 - when it was a clay-court event rather than grass - but few would back him to make another appearance in the latter stages with top seed Federer up next.
Haas got the better of Pierre-Hugues Herbert 6-3 4-6 7-5 and is eagerly anticipating a reunion with his old pal, who is returning to the ATP Tour for the first time since winning the Miami Open in April, after which he decided to rest.
"We have known each other for a very long time," said Haas, who plans to retire at the end of the season.
"We started to get closer around the time when my fiancee and his wife became friendlier. Then we had kids and started to hang out much more.
"We used to have the same agent, Tony Godsick, who is a very close friend of mine, so it was always an easy connection. [Federer] is a first-class guy. I have great times with him and I am happy to call him my friend."
-- MercedesCup (@MercedesCup) June 13, 2017
Last year's losing finalist and another home favourite Philipp Kohlschreiber also reached round two, 6-1 up when Marcos Baghdatis retired after receiving treatment from the physio.
Benoit Paire, Jerzy Janowicz, Feliciano Lopez, Bernard Tomic, Peter Gojowczyk and Jeremy Chardy also advanced.
At the Rosmalen Grass Court Championships, top seed Marin Cilic will meet Janko Tipsarevic in the second round, after the Serbian ousted Yuichi Sugita 7-6 (7-5) 3-6 6-0.
Alexandr Dolgopolov, Adrian Mannarino, Thanasi Kokkinakis, Stefan Kozlov, Julien Benneteau, Daniil Medvedev and Ernesto Escobedo were Tuesday's other winners.