Federer reaches 8th successive final in Halle

Roger Federer edged closer to his first title of the season when he came from a set down to beat defending champion Tommy Haas 3-6 6-3 6-4 and book a place in Sunday's Gerry Weber Open, Halle final (eighth successive final in Halle) against Mikhail Youzhny.

After a patchy start on Saturday the Swiss looked sharp on the grass as he prepares for his title defense at Wimbledon later this month.

Federer, five-times champion at Halle, will take on Russian Youzhny, who outclassed former Wimbledon semi-finalist Richard Gasquet of France 6-3 6-2.

"I felt good out there, and as I had predicted it was a tough match," Federer, the world number three, said in a courtside interview.

"I have not won a title this year, twice I have lost here in the final in the past years. It will not be easy but I am really looking forward to it."

Federer had 15 aces and Haas finished with nine double-faults. Consecutive double-faults by Haas at the end of the third game of the final set gave Federer the decisive edge.

''On the big points, Roger showed again what qualities he has,'' Haas said. ''I think I still played well and gave my best.''

"It would be very nice to win any title during the season, because it gives you incredible confidence," said Federer. "You know that you're on the right track, you know you're doing the right things, the hard work is paying off and your scheduling seems to make sense. Winning tournaments is everything. For me, it would be great to win the final. It comes at the right time. If I don't, I know I can still build on something because I've had a good few weeks so far. But, no doubt about it, I'll try everything in my power to win tomorrow."

Having finished runner-up in 2010 (l. to Hewitt) and 2012 (l. to Haas), Federer is looking to reclaim the trophy he won from 2003-06 and 2008. He is 12-4 in grass-court finals, having also won The Championships at Wimbledon seven times, including last year (d. Murray).

Federer improved to an 11-3 Head 2 Head record over Haas as he rallied from a set down for victory in one hour and 38 minutes. The Basel native, who joined with Haas for the first time in doubles this week – they lost in the first round – was broken in the sixth game of the first set as he lost the opener. But he quickly wrestled momentum from Haas, racing to a 3-0 second set lead before levelling the match. Another early break in the third set paid dividends for Federer as he unseated the defending champion.

"It was a great match for me to play and then also to win," said Federer. "Tommy can play really well here. We saw that last year here and in previous years he’s also been successful. I’m very happy that I was able to maintain really a high level of play."

"After losing the first set, there’s not that much margin anymore. I think he won most of the big points in the first set. Then in the second and third I was able to turn it around and win the big points myself. So, it was a big, good win for me. And I thought the quality was also extremely high."

"It was a very close match, a very good match," said Haas. "At the beginning of the second set, he was trying to be a little bit more aggressive. He played some really great points and deserved to break me early on. He started serving very well and didn't give me many chances to try and break him. Once he starts running ahead, he's very hard to catch up, especially on grass."

Date: 15th June 2013, Source: Reuters and ATP


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