Federer on brink of becoming oldest No.1

Roger Federer moved to within one victory of becoming the oldest man to take the World No.1 ranking on Thursday with a hard-fought 7-6 (8), 7-5 victory over Germany's Philipp Kohlschreiber at the Rotterdam Open. The 36-year-old will now face Robin Haase in the quarter-finals on Friday.

“It was extremely complicated tonight,” Federer said. “I had a good game plan going in, but I was never able to completely pull it off. I couldn’t find my range or my rhythm. I think Philipp did that to me; it was a struggle. When the score was close, I couldn’t release my shots. So it was a battle. It was quite the relief at the end.”

Federer, the 20-time Grand Slam title winner, then eased to victory in the 12th game with a volley winner on second match point.

The Swiss superstar must now defeat Dutchman Haase, who beat Griekspoor 6-4, 6-0 in the final match of the day, to return to the summit of men’s professional tennis for the first time in more than five years.

Federer, the 2005 and 2012 champion, is excited about the possibility of returning to the top of the rankings 19 years after he played Rotterdam in 1999 on his first career wild card.

“This is an exciting challenge, I've struggled to try and get there. I had to win a lot of matches last year,” said Federer, who was world number one for the first time in February 2004.

However, he was last at the summit in October 2012 and slumped to 17 in the world in January last year.

“I never imagined this after my (February 2016) knee surgery. Number one is a tough place to get to.

“The most important thing is to be healthy, I would have had great regrets if I had not come here this week. I'm very excited for tomorrow's match, I can't wait for it to come around.”

Date: 15 February 2018, Source: AFP and ATP


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