Federer reaches his 10th Halle final

Roger Federer will play for his eighth Gerry Weber Open title after withstanding 20 aces to edge Ivo Karlovic 7-6(3), 7-6(4) Saturday in Halle.

The top seed owns the most grass-court titles in the Open Era and will look for his 15th crown on the lawns when he faces Andreas Seppi in Sunday’s final at this newly reclassified ATP World Tour 500 tournament.

Federer bided his time and was rewarded as he took his few opportunities to beat Karlovic in 88 minutes, improving to a 13-1 standing in their ATP Head to Head. The Swiss won just five points on Karlovic’s serve in the first set, but nailed a backhand passing shot on a second serve return in the seventh point of the tie-break and reeled off the final four points of the set.

Federer saved the only break point of the match in the fourth game of the second set as the match inevitably progressed to another tie-break. The Basel native squandered his initial mini-break advantage, but reclaimed the lead at 5-4 as Karlovic netted a backhand volley and did not lose another point.

"It comes down to a shot here or there," said Federer. "We are both mentally prepared. We’ve played so many breakers against one another and I think he was better in the first set, I was better in the breaker. I stayed calm. And in the second set probably I was better throughout the set and he was maybe a bit better in the breaker. Maybe I got a little bit lucky in the breaker.

“So, it was a tough match. I knew that going in. I was struggling to read his serve in the first set, but handled it better in the second set. It was tough. It’s just a bit of a grind and physically it’s like easy, mentally rough.”

Karlovic’s 20 aces took his tally for the week to 114; he hit an ATP World Tour (best-of-three) record 45 aces in his quarter-final win over Tomas Berdych. The 36-year-old Croat did not lose serve all week in 48 games.

It is the seventh time in his career that Federer has registered 50 match wins at a tour-level event. The 33 year old is through to his 10th final in Halle, with his only defeats coming in 2012 against Tommy Haas and 2010 against Lleyton Hewitt.

Federer has a 33-6 match record on the season and is chasing his fourth title of the campaign to add to trophies in Brisbane (d. Raonic), Dubai (d. Djokovic) and Istanbul (d. Cuevas).

Seppi advanced to the final after Kei Nishikori retired down 1-4 in the first set after 14 minutes due to a calf injury.

The Swiss leads his ATP Head to Head series with Seppi 11-1. The Italian's lone win against Federer came in January when he won in four sets in the third round of the Australian Open.

Into his eighth ATP World Tour final, the 31-year-old World No. 45 looks to add to his three tour-level titles: Moscow (2012), Belgrade (2012) and Eastbourne (2011).

“I played him many times. For some time, we also practiced quite often. I think he hits the ball very well on both sides, especially cross court and then he can go down the line,” said Federer of the Italian.

“I think that's what makes him a tough player. I think fitness-wise he's very fit, you know, he won't go away.

“He doesn't have the best second serve but I think he has improved that over time. And because he hits the ball quite flat it actually helps him on the grass.”

Date: 20th June 2015, Source: ATP and AFP


Post a Comment