Federer defeats Gulbis to reach Halle QFs

Roger Federer and Ernests Gulbis had gone the distance in splitting their previous four ATP Head to Head meetings, including a five-set encounter won by the Latvian last year at Roland Garros.

On Wednesday at the Gerry Weber Open, Federer avenged that loss with their first straight-sets result. The top seed and seven-time Halle champion defeated his 86th-ranked opponent 6-3, 7-5.

“It is a grass-court match and he’s got a big serve, so regardless of what his level is, he’s always going to be tough for himself and for the opponent,” said Federer. “I served well when I had to and I’m pleased about the overall performance today.

“He’s got potential for the Top 10. He needs to be more confident in the difficult phases of a match,” Federer said about Gulbis.

After taking the opening set in 27 minutes with one break of serve, Federer brought up triple break point at 5-all in the second. Gulbis saved the first two, but double-faulted on the third.

Asked to assess his early grass-court form and whether he could compete in two week's time with Novak Djokovic, whom he labelled the favourite for Wimbledon, Federer joked, “Yes, because I’ve won two matches on grass and he hasn’t won any yet (laughs).

“Kidding aside, yes, I hope to be competitive,” he continued. “I hope I’m going to be in good shape. I hope we play against each other. That probably means we are in the final both of us and we’re both equally pleased with the tournament. But we know how long that road is to get there. I think our games both work very well on grass.

“I believe with the year he had and the Wimbledon last year, he’s going to be favourite, he’s going to be playing very well again. Anything else will be quite surprising.”

The 33-year-old Swiss will first look to win his 15th grass-court title this week at this newly reclassified ATP World Tour 500 tournament.

Federer had come within two points of defeat in his Halle opener against 2011 champion Philipp Kohlschreiber on Monday, but reeled off three straight points to close the third set tie-break.

He will look to extend his Halle winning streak to 10 straight matches when he next faces German Florian Mayer. Federer has a 5-0 ATP Head to Head record against Mayer, including a pair of victories in Halle.

Date: 17th June 2015, Source: ATP


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