Federer into his ninth Halle final; Defeats Nishikori in straight sets

Roger Federer soared into his ninth final at the Gerry Weber Open with a 6-3, 7-6(4) victory over Kei Nishikori on Saturday.

Federer will vie for his 14th grass title and 79th overall after improving to 45-5 on the lawns of Halle. The six-time champion (2003-06, ‘08, ‘13) fired 10 aces and was a perfect 2/2 on break point opportunities, dismissing the Japanese in 73 minutes.

Nishikori rallied from behind in the second set, forcing a tie-break and earning an early mini-break at 4-2, but two consecutive forehand errors would hand the advantage back to Federer. The second seed would convert on his first match point, levelling the ATP Head to Head at two apiece.

"I’m very happy that things are going so well for me here this week," Federer said. "I only played a few matches and I’m in the final now. I wasn’t sure whether it’s a good thing to get a walkover in the quarter-finals because I was really lacking matches on grass. Playing against somebody like Nishikori is a big test.

"I’m extremely happy with the way I played today. I think I played really aggressive, I served well when I had to and I was able to keep the pressure on Kei and at the end I think I deserved to win. I played a good tie-break as well to get back into it and now I’m in another final here at the Gerry Weber Open. I love this tournament. I’ve won it six times before. So I’m hoping to make it seven."

Even after 1178 tour-level matches, Roger Federer experienced something new when he defeated Kei Nishikori.

The Swiss lost track of the score as a Nishikori backhand clipped the tape on match point. For a brief moment, he was unaware of his triumph while sauntering back to the baseline to serve again.

"I miscounted early in the tie-break," Federer said. "I just realized it when I saw that Kei was laughing, the umpire was laughing and everybody of my team as well. It was the first time in my career in over a thousand matches."

The Swiss will face Alejandro Falla in the final after he became the second Colombian to reach an ATP World Tour final in 2014, rallying to upset home favourite Philipp Kohlschreiber in the first semi-final. Santiago Giraldo recently advanced to the final in Barcelona (l. to Nishikori).

Falla emerged victorious against Kohlschreibe 5-7, 7-6(5), 6-4 in two hours and 22 minutes.

''It would be nice to play Roger, maybe to get revenge for the last couple of matches on grass at the Olympics and at Wimbledon,'' Falla said, referring to their previous meetings in 2012 and 2010.

Federer has a 100 percent record from six meetings with Falla.

Roger Federer will look claim the doubles title as well on Sunday after he and his partner Marco Chiudinelli downed the all-German duo of Dustin Brown and Jan-Lennard Struff 7-5, 6-3 in the semi-finals. Federer enters his 40th doubles final in search of a ninth tour-level crown. He previously prevailed at the Gerry Weber Open alongside Yves Allegro in 2005.

Federer and Chiudinelli, who have not relinquished a set this week, will face fellow unseeded tandem Andre Begemann and Julian Knowle in the final.

With Switzerland playing Ecuador in the FIFA World Cup at 6 p.m. German time and the Halle final getting underway at 3 p.m., Federer said he'd have to play quickly - he's also playing in the doubles final - so he can watch the football.

''Whoever wins the first set is the winner,'' he joked.

Date: 14th June 2014, Source: ATP and AP


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