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Federer: "I enjoyed clay court season and Roland Garros"

“I think I surprised myself maybe with how deep I got in this tournament and how well I actually was able to play throughout. I definitely enjoyed the clay-court season and Roland Garros.”

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Federer wins fourth Miami Open title

Roger Federer produced a championship masterclass under the Florida sun, dominating reigning champ John Isner 6-1, 6-4 to win his fourth Miami title.

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Federer makes history in Dubai, wins 100th title

Roger Federer made history at the Dubai Duty Free Championships, defeating reigning Next Gen ATP Finals champion Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-4, 6-4 to win his 100th tour-level title.

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Federer in fine form as Switzerland win Hopman Cup

Roger Federer became the most successful player in Hopman Cup history when he led Switzerland to a 2-1 win in an enthralling final of the mixed teams tournament in Perth.

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Federer becomes oldest ATP World No.1

Roger Federer guaranteed his return to No.1 in the ATP Rankings after beating Robin Haase 4-6, 6-1, 6-1 to reach the semi-finals of the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam.

Federer: "It's such an incredible opportunity missed, I can't believe it"

Roger Federer was so close, but yet so far away from lifting his ninth Wimbledon title on Sunday against Novak Djokovic. The Swiss superstar let slip two championship points while serving for the match at 8-7, 40/15 in a thrilling fifth set, eventually falling short 6-7 (5), 6-1, 6-7 (4), 6-4, 12-13 (3).

“I don't know if losing 2-2-2 feels better than this one. At the end, it actually doesn't matter to some extent. You might feel more disappointed, sad over angry,” Federer said. “I don't know what I feel right now. I just feel like it's such an incredible opportunity missed, I can't believe it. It is what it is.”

On his first opportunity to win the tournament, Federer missed a forehand wide. And on the next point, he pressured Djokovic by approaching to the Serbian’s forehand. The World No. 1 responded with a crosscourt winner past Federer’s outstretched racquet, eventually getting back on serve.

“I was still happy to be at 8-all, 9-all. I don't remember what it was. You’ve got to try to see the positives, you try to take it as a good thing that you're not down a break or that the match is not over yet,” Federer said. “If I could have picked it before the match to be at 9-all in the fifth, that wouldn't be a terrible thing. You just always try to push yourself to see things on the better side. But it was definitely tough to have those chances.”

The loss will sting for Federer, who was pursuing his 21st Grand Slam title. But it’s not the first time he has suffered a tough loss, and he knows he will have to put it behind him.

“Similar to getting broken when serving for the match: take it on your chin, you move on. You try to forget, try to take the good things out of this match. There's just tons of it,” Federer said. “Like similar to 2008 maybe, I will look back at it and think, ‘Well, it's not that bad after all.’ For now it hurts, and it should, like every loss does here at Wimbledon. I think it's a mindset. I'm very strong at being able to move on because I don't want to be depressed about actually an amazing tennis match.”

When Federer broke Pete Sampras’ record of 14 major trophies by winning his 15th at Wimbledon in 2009, Djokovic owned just one Grand Slam championship. Now the Serbian has 16 and Rafael Nadal has 18, both within striking range of 37-year-old Federer’s 20.

“It used to be a really, really big deal, I guess when you were close. I guess two behind, then eventually you tie, then eventually you break. That was big,” Federer said. “It's been different since, naturally because the chase is in a different place. I take motivation from different places. Not so much from trying to stay ahead, because I broke the record, and if somebody else does, well, that's great for them. You can't protect everything, anyway.

“I didn't become a tennis player for that. I really didn't. It's about trying to win Wimbledon, trying to have good runs here, playing in front of such an amazing crowd in this Centre Court against players like Novak and so forth. That's what I play for. So things are different now. But I'm very happy with my level of play nowadays, still.”

Despite the disappointment, Federer understands that people will remember this match forever. “I will try to forget,” Federer said on court after the match. But people will watch replays of this classic for years to come.

“We know what a great sport it is. I don't think we need the matches, per se. Maybe we need them to sometimes cross over to other sports, maybe get to the fans in the streets and so forth. If that's the case, that this match did something like this, I think that's great,” Federer said. “I think it was a great match with wonderful points played. It had everything. Novak played also amazing today. So I hope it resonates in a big way.”

It’s been 11 years since Federer played Nadal - whom he defeated in the semi-finals on Friday - in what many consider to be the best match ever. Federer also fell short in that five-set thriller.

“This one is more straightforward maybe in some ways because we didn't have the rain delays, we didn't have the night coming in and all that stuff. But sure, epic ending, so close, so many moments. Yeah, I mean, sure there's similarities,” Federer said. “I'm the loser both times, so that's the only similarity I see.”

Date: 15 July 2019, Source: ATP

Federer defeats Nadal at Wimbledon, plays Djokovic in final

Roger Federer booked a place in his 12th final at The Championships, where he will attempt to lift a record-extending ninth trophy after a tactical masterclass against his long-time rival, Rafael Nadal, a two-time former titlist, on Friday at Wimbledon.

The Swiss superstar played at his aggressive best on return of serve, at the net and in long rallies to beat World No. 2 Nadal 7-6 (3), 1-6, 6-3, 6-4 in their semi-final, which lasted three hours and two minutes, on Centre Court.

Federer seized the momentum in his 40th ATP Head to Head meeting against Nadal with a break of serve at 3-1 in the third set and, in spite of an early break in the fourth set, kept 18-time Grand Slam championship winner Nadal at bay before converting his fifth match point chance. It was their first grass-court clash since their legendary 2008 Wimbledon final, which Nadal won 9-7 in the fifth set.

“It's always very, very cool to play against Rafa here, especially as we haven't played here in so long,” said Federer. “It lived up to the hype, especially from coming out of the gates, we were both playing very well. Then, the climax at the end, with the crazy last game, some tough rallies there. It had everything at the end, which was great, I guess. I'm just relieved it's all over at this point.

“But it's definitely, definitely going to go down as one of my favourite matches to look back at, again, because it's Rafa, it's at Wimbledon, the crowds were into it, great weather. I felt like I played good also throughout the four sets. I can be very happy.”

The 37-year-old becomes the third oldest man in the Open Era (since 1968) to reach a Grand Slam championship final and now challenges World No. 1 Novak Djokovic, the defending champion and four-time winner, on Sunday in a blockbuster clash at the All England Club. Djokovic, who beat No. 23 seed Roberto Bautista Agut of Spain in the semi-finals earlier on Friday, leads Federer 25-22 in their career series, including victories in the 2014 and 2015 Wimbledon finals.

Federer, who registered his 100th Wimbledon match win over Kei Nishikori in the quarter-finals on Wednesday, will now attempt to capture the 21st major championship crown of his career in his 31st final. The World No. 3 won the Wimbledon title in 2003-07, 2009, 2012 and 2017. Australia’s Ken Rosewall, who reached the final at 1974 Wimbledon, aged 39 years and 246 days, and two months later at the 1974 US Open, aged 39 years and 310 days, remains the oldest Grand Slam finalist since April 1968.

Nadal stood deep behind the baseline on return of serve and Federer soon picked up on the ploy, exposing the angles of the court and serve and volleying with great frequency. The match, played in breezy conditions at the All England Club, went with serve to the tie-break, but Federer did have a break point on Nadal’s serve at 3-4, 30/40, when the Spaniard’s excellent footwork helped. Nadal got himself out of trouble at 5-6, 40/0, losing three straight points, but in the tie-break raised his game to lead 3/2. From that point, Federer went on the attack, stepping into the court and rushing the net to win five of the next six points to clinch the 52-minute opener. Federer completed the set with a forehand, his 16th winner.

“I thought it was a tough first set with not many chances,” said Federer. “It came down to I thought a really good tie-break. I think I served well there, but I also came up with some really good returns and rallies. He got off the gates faster with a great lob, I believe, to get the mini break first. As the first set was dominated by a lot of good serving, I thought that was probably a big problem for me. But I was able to get out of that one."

Having won 27 of his 34 service points in the first set, Federer came under pressure in his opening service game of the second set, but continued to back himself at the net. The Swiss saved Nadal’s first break point with a smash and fired a backhand volley to deny the Spaniard on his second opportunity. One game later, it was Nadal’s turn to feel the heat as he recovered from 15/40, but Federer was still able to step inside the baseline. While Nadal’s return positioning, deep behind the baseline, was questioned, he soon won 10 points in a row, capitalising on a lapse in concentration from Federer, who lost his serve to love after a backhand error.

“I think the second set got tougher with the sun coming through on the Royal Box end,” said Federer. “So I got broken there. Also there was a little bit against the wind on the other side. Rafa was in the zone there. Maybe, also, I didn't serve as well. It was a close match and he was able to take charge after I had a couple chances early on in that second set, so that was tough. I was able to stick to my game plan, stay aggressive, stay offensive. I guess I also started to serve a bit better maybe after that second set."

Nadal carried the momentum, with Federer’s level dropping slightly in a 10-minute period. Federer mis-timed a forehand on approach to the net to give Nadal a 5-1 lead and the Spaniard then calmly closed out the second set with a hold to love - ending with an unreturned serve. Nadal won 30 of 45 points in the set, with 17 of 23 service points won.

As the intensity level increased early in the third set, Federer out-duelled Nadal in the fourth game, showcasing tremendous defence before ripping a backhand winner down the line for a break point. Nadal was then drawn to the net at 30/40, before Federer hit a backhand volley winner into space for a 3-1 advantage. Federer dug himself out of a 15/40 deficit in the next game, saving three break points - with Nadal left to rue missing a second serve return when Federer served at 0/30. Federer started to win the longer rallies, playing aggressively on return of serve, without mistakes to ensure that Nadal was placed on the back foot. The 2008 and 2010 titlist came back from 15/40 at 1-4, but Federer wasn’t to be denied as he soon secured the 37-minute set.

“The early break in the third set, I had a couple of mistakes in that moment. That was a tough moment I needed to resist. The beginning of the third set probably was one of the keys of the match,” said Nadal. “I started to play much better at the end of the match, but it was too late.”

Federer rode the momentum and broke Nadal early in the fourth set and later a deep forehand return helped him set up his first match point opportunity at 5-3. Nadal got back to Deuce with a well-placed serve that the Swiss returned long and a second match point chance came and went, with Nadal serving out wide in the Ad court. Upon winning the game for 4-5, Nadal ran to his chair and proceeded to take off the strapping on his left foot.

“I think I won a lot of the important points in the third and fourth set,” said Federer. “There were some brutal rallies in key moments that went my way. I think those might have made the difference today.”

A break point soon went begging with a backhand error to end an 11-stroke rally, and Federer could not convert two further match points, but at the fifth time of asking he earned his 38th match win of the season. Federer pumped his fists in celebration. He struck 51 winners, including 14 aces, saving six of eight break points against Nadal, who committed 25 unforced errors.

“It's been a tough one. I had my chances, but he played a little bit better than me,” said Nadal. “Probably I didn't play as good as I did in the previous rounds, and he played well. So he deserves it. Congrats to him.

“He is always able to do the most difficult things easily. He’s able to move inside the court quicker than anyone. He puts pressure on the opponent all the time because he has the ability to take the ball earlier than anybody else. That's probably the most difficult thing to make happen and he is able to do it so well.

“It’s not the day to find any excuse. My energy was there. I have been playing with the right energy and with the right intensity the whole tournament. Today, too. He played a great match and well done to him,” said Nadal.

Date: 12 July 2019, Source: ATP

Federer earns historic 100th Wimbledon win, plays Nadal in semifinal

Eight-time champion Roger Federer beat No. 8 seed Kei Nishikori 4-6, 6-1, 6-4, 6-4 to earn his 100th Wimbledon match win, advancing to the semi-finals at the All England Club for a record 13th time.

He is the first player in history to earn 100 victories at a Grand Slam championship. Former World No. 1 Jimmy Connors had been closest to accomplishing the feat before Federer’s run this fortnight. The American won 98 matches at the US Open.

"It's special. It's been a lot of years I've been coming here. That's given me the opportunity to win a lot, naturally. I didn't think of it while I was playing today. Actually not at all, not once. Then as I'm signing, the guy says, 'Congratulations for your 100,'" Federer said. "It's nice, because if I look back at the hundred that have happened, some were so incredibly cool. Today again was a big match going into the semis to face Rafa. A hundred wins here at Wimbledon. Who would have thought? I didn't, for sure."

The second seed’s triumph also sets the stage for his first ATP Head to Head meeting against Rafael Nadal at Wimbledon since their legendary 2008 final. Nadal defeated American Sam Querrey on No. 1 Court to advance to the semi-finals.

"He has improved so much over the years on this surface. He's playing also very different than he used to. Haven't played each other in a long, long time on this surface. He's serving way different. I remember back in the day how he used to serve, and now how much bigger he's serving, how much faster he finishes points," Federer said. "A lot of them are saying, 'Oh, it's the end,' by 2008. Similar to me in '09. We're still here, so it's nice to play each other again."

After losing his first set of the tournament against South African Lloyd Harris, Federer won 12 consecutive sets to cruise into the quarter-finals. But Nishikori, who beat Federer in their most recent match at last year’s ATP Finals, came out firing from the first point, going up 2-0 and earning three break points to take a 3-0, double-break lead, before the Swiss was able to hold and get on the board.

Nishikori was succeeding at the start of the match by taking the ball early and earning the first strike in rallies, keeping Federer from controlling points himself. And even though the Swiss maintained contact by avoiding going down a double-break, Nishikori took care of his serve, saving the lone break point he faced in the opener to take the lead.

From there, Federer significantly raised his level, punctuating a break to love in his first return game of the second set with a massive inside-in forehand winner. He used the momentum of that moment to cruise through the set, making just one unforced error in the set to even the match.

Nishikori, who made five straight Grand Slam quarter-finals, did not let Federer race away, saving a break point in the first game of the third set. But at 3-3, Federer got a ton of topspin on a forehand approach shot, dipping it right onto the baseline for a winner to break.

As he did throughout the match, Nishikori battled hard to avoid going down two sets to one, lacing a crosscourt forehand return winner at 4-5, 30/30 to earn a chance to get back on serve. But Federer was undeterred, staving off that chance and later crushing a swinging forehand volley to take the set.

Federer broke at 4-4 in the fourth set after Nishikori missed just long to end a long rally. And the Swiss wasted no time moving into the last four, holding to love.

The difference was Federer's serve, as he won 81 per cent of his first-serve points compared to just 57 per cent for Nishikori. In addition to saving five of the six break points he faced, the Swiss was also ruthlessly efficient in the forecourt against one of the best passing shot players in the sport, winning 81 per cent (25/31) of his net points.

Federer will meet Nadal at Wimbledon for the fourth time. They clashed on the historic London lawns each year from 2006-08, with Federer triumphing on the first two occasions to lift the trophy and Nadal claiming his maiden crown at The Championships in 2008. Nadal, who beat Federer in the Roland Garros semi-finals, leads their ATP Head to Head rivalry 24-15.

"It's going to be tough. Rafa is not just a clay court specialist. He can really can hurt anybody on any surface. He's that good," Federer said.

Federer is trying to become the first man in the Open Era to win five Grand Slam titles after turning 30. He is one of four men to have won four major trophies in the Open Era after his 30th birthday, alongside Rod Laver, Nadal and Ken Rosewall.

"Now to play against Roger always is a unique situation. Excited to be back on this court against him after 11 years. Means a lot for me and probably for him, too. I play against probably the best player of the history in this surface and know that I have to play my best if I want to have chances to try to be in the final," Nadal said.

Date: 10 July 2019, Source: ATP

Federer to play Nishikori in Wimbledon quarterfinal

Matteo Berrettini walked onto Centre Court on Monday at the All England Club with more grass-court wins in 2019 (12) than anyone. But his opponent was Roger Federer, who showed why he is an eight-time Wimbledon champion.

Federer dominated the 23-year-old Italian 6-1, 6-2, 6-2 in just one hour and 14 minutes, advancing to his 17th quarter-final at The Championships.

"Today was excellent. I was very happy," Federer said. "I was expecting a tough match and a close one with not many chances. It was actually quite the opposite, so that was great."

The 37-year-old Swiss lost his first set of the fortnight against Lloyd Harris, the first time he dropped a set in his first-round match at Wimbledon since 2010, when he came from two sets down against Alejandro Falla. But since, Federer has rolled, winning 12 consecutive sets.

Federer is trying to break his own record by lifting his ninth trophy at The Championships. But first, if he defeats Kei Nishikori in the last eight, he will earn his 100th Wimbledon victory, becoming the first player in the Open Era to earn 100 match wins at a Grand Slam tournament.

"I think it's going to be tough, plus Kei is getting into quarters with a lot of energy. I remember some of the Slams recently he arrived into the later stages with maybe some tough matches going into it. So far it's been really easy for him," Federer said. "I think he's ready. I'm a big fan of his game. I think he's got one of the best backhands in the game that we have right now. He's a great return player. Solid mentally. I always thought he was a great talent."

Federer set the tone early by blocking almost all of Berrettini’s thunderous serves right back into play. And throughout the match, once he neutralised the Italian’s serve, he found himself in a strong position in rallies, attacking the No. 17 seed’s backhand and coming to net when the opportunity presented itself.

"He didn't have his best day. I know that, as well. I was dialed in. I was able to get a lot of balls back, I think because of the conditions as well. I think if it would have been faster, then again we would have seen the match that I was expecting with few chances here and there," Federer said. "I was just able to maybe outmanoeuvre him with my slice. He couldn't hurt me enough with his forehand, which I thought was going to be maybe tough to manage today. Everything seemed to go easier.

"Eventually you know how it is, when you're down two sets to love so quickly, I mean, it's hard to figure things out. It's hard to change. I just think the conditions also didn't allow him to do that today."

Berrettini held to love in his first service game, but his success on serve did not last longer than that. Federer broke for 3-1 in the opening set by crushing an overhead smash, and Berrettini then made a backhand error to hand the second seed a second break in the opener.

Federer had his third break chance of the match at 1-1 in the second set. And although he did not get much pace on an approach shot, Berrettini missed a crosscourt forehand passing shot wide to give the World No. 3 the break. After Berrettini dumped a forehand into the net to give Federer another break, the Swiss took a two-set lead after 46 minutes with a heavy forehand to force an error.

If Berrettini was going to follow in Kevin Anderson’s footsteps, as the South African overcame a two-set deficit against Federer in last year’s quarter-finals, the World No. 20 needed a fast start in the third set. But instead of rushing forward to put away a high forehand volley when facing break point at 0-0 in the third, he let it drop too low and missed an attempted forehand drop volley into the net.

Berrettini maintained good spirits though. He tried to run around his backhand to hit a forehand on another break point, but Federer’s shot took a tough bounce off the sideline chalk, and Berrettini fell trying to make contact, cracking a laugh. Federer closed out his win by punishing a forehand volley into the open court.

In the next round, Federer will take a 7-3 ATP Head to Head series lead against Nishikori, who battled past Kazakhstan's Mikhail Kukushkin 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 in two hours and 43 minutes.

Nishikori is into the quarter-finals of his fifth consecutive Grand Slam championship. The only other players who have made the last eight in each of those events are Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal. Against Kukushkin, the Japanese star converted five of his 13 break chances and won 61 per cent of his second-serve points, while the Kukushkin won only 44 per cent of his second-serve points.

The eighth seed has emerged victorious in 21 consecutive Grand Slam matches against players not named Djokovic or Nadal. He will take confidence onto the court against Federer having defeated the Swiss in their most recent meeting at last year's ATP Finals. Federer won their only Grand Slam battle at the 2017 Australian Open in five sets, and he also beat Nishikori on grass at 2014 Halle.

"I'm sure that I have to play good tennis to beat Roger, because he's best player on the grass," Nishikori said. "I think he seems to be playing good this week, past two weeks. I'm sure it's going to be tough. But I feel like I am very confident this week, playing good tennis."

Date: 8 July 2019, Source: ATP

Federer beats Pouille for 350th Grand Slam match win

Eight-time champion Roger Federer was pushed early in his third-round Wimbledon clash against No. 27 seed Lucas Pouille, appearing in danger of dropping the first set for the second time this week. But one 10-minute surge was all the 37-year-old Swiss needed to grab the match and move into the second week at The Championships for the 17th time.

Federer defeated Australian Open semi-finalist Pouille 7-5, 6-2, 7-6 (4) in two hours and 6 minutes, becoming the first player in history to earn 350 Grand Slam singles wins. He is also the first man in the Open Era to reach the fourth round at Wimbledon 17 times, breaking a tie with Jimmy Connors.

"It's a nice number to achieve and I have enjoyed my time at the slams. They've given me some of the most memorable and special moments on a tennis court, so of course it's nice winning that much.

"I don't know how many years I have got left but at the moment I am really enjoying myself. I love to move on the grass, it comes very naturally to me. It's been wonderful.

"I'm very happy how it's going so far at Wimbledon. I thought it was a good match with Lucas today. Of course, I hope it's going to take a special performance from somebody to stop me," Federer said.

Pouille reached just one tour-level quarter-final since advancing to the last four in Melbourne this January. But the 25-year-old came out firing in his second appearance in the third round at SW19. The Frenchman went blow-for-blow with Federer in the early going, engaging in fast-paced rallied on the baseline with the 102-time tour-level titlist.

But Federer proved capable of maintaining his level in those types of exchanges, and that was key in determining the patterns of the match. The second seed hit 39 winners to just 14 unforced errors to advance to a battle against No. 17 seed and recent Stuttgart champion Matteo Berrettini, who defeated No. 24 seed Diego Schwartzman in a five-set thriller.

The biggest moment of the match arguably came at 5-5 in the first set, when Pouille earned a break point that, if converted, would have allowed him to serve for the opener. Federer used two overhead smashes to stave off that chance, and never looked back from there, winning the next six games to take a commanding lead.

"I'm happy that I'm able to raise my level of play," Federer said. "There was a great run of games midway through the second, also after winning the first. I like seeing moments like that in a match for me."

Pouille recovered well in the third set, using good depth to keep Federer from completely exerting his will on Centre Court. The Frenchman saved the first match point he faced while serving at 5-6, eventually forcing a tie-break. But Federer used a strong return to take control of a point on his first return point of the tie-break, and he stormed on from there. The 19-time tour-level grass-court titlist closed out his triumph when Pouille hit a backhand into the net.

Federer has never previously faced Berrettini, who has climbed from No. 81 to No. 20 in the ATP Rankings since the start of Wimbledon last year. The Italian saved three match points in the fourth set before outlasting Schwartzman 6-7 (5), 7-6 (2), 4-6, 7-6 (5), 6-3 in four hours and 19 minutes, falling to the Court 18 grass after Schwartzman missed a backhand on his first match point. It was the longest match of the tournament so far.

The 23-year-old has now won 12 of his 13 tour-level grass-court matches this year, despite having been 1-3 on the surface previously. Berrettini won two points less than Schwartzman overall, but he struck 22 aces and hit 75 winners in his victory.

"I don't know him very well. So that makes it a bit more tricky, as well. I saw him play a little bit in Halle. Saw his run, of course, in Stuttgart. Now he's backing it up here again. That's not easy to do, especially when you're sort of newer on the Tour," Federer said. "I'm expecting a tough one. I hope he has no energy left after today. I'm sure he'll recover. He's young. I'm sure we'll see a tough match on Monday."

Federer is into the Round of 16 at a Grand Slam for the 65th time, extending his record for most trips to the fourth round of a major in the Open Era.

Date: 6 July 2019, Source: ATP and Reuters

Federer reaches Wimbledon third round

Roger Federer walked on No. 1 Court with a 16-1 record in the second round at Wimbledon. And although his wild card opponent, Jay Clarke, put forth an admirable effort in front of his home crowd, that record was not blemished any further.

Federer overcame a tight second set to beat Clarke 6-1, 7-6 (3), 6-2, advancing to the third round at SW19 for the 17th time, equalling Jimmy Connors’ Open Era record. It is his 70th trip to the third round of a major, extending his own record.

In the first round, Federer faced a slight bump, losing the first set against South African Lloyd Harris. But he was much sharper from the first ball against Clarke, moving on after one hour and 37 minutes, striking 46 winners to just 25 unforced errors in a clean match for the eight-time champion.

"It was a good start to the match, which is always nice, especially after the last match, trying to do a better job there," Federer said. "I was trying to be more aggressive than in my previous match. I was able to do that. Also the reaction was good again in the third set. Obviously was a bit tight in the second, but I was able to hold my nerve and serve well when I had to."

He was sure to get off to a quick start, breaking serve twice in the opening set and swooping into the forecourt successfully often, winning 10 of 13 net points in the first.

If Clarke was going to work his way towards a stunning upset, he had to pull through the second set, in which he was strong on serve to reach a tie-break. But after taking an early mini-break when Federer missed a sitting forehand volley, the Swiss buckled down, winning six of the set’s final seven points. He hit his seventh ace of the match to close out the tie-break.

"In the second set, I think he did very well to stay with me. Every time he got a little bit close on his service games, he was able to produce something special," Federer said. "He had his chances in the breaker, where I donated him a missed volley. He could have pulled away. I was able to come back right away. But I liked what I saw in Jay."

Federer did not lose a first-serve point in the final two sets (30/30), winning 91 per cent of points on his first delivery in the match. He saved the two break points he faced.

"It was very much dominated by my serves, I thought my service games. Then on the return, just tried my best," Federer said. "Sometimes it was working, sometimes not, which is normal I think on the grass."

Federer now has 97 wins at Wimbledon, as he continues his pursuit to win 100 matches at a single tournament for the first time. The 37-year-old is trying to win his ninth Wimbledon crown to extend his own record at the grass-court Grand Slam.

"My first two matches haven’t been physically taxing so the tank is nice and full. This first week has been going well and I know the opponents in terms of ranking will now get better."

Federer will next face No. 27 seed Lucas Pouille, who beat fellow Frenchman Gregoire Barrere 6-1, 7-6 (0), 6-4 in one hour and 37 minutes. The second seed won his only previous ATP Head to Head match against Pouille in straight sets, but that came five years ago at the Paris Masters.

Pouille has proven capable of making a deep run at a Grand Slam, advancing to the semi-finals at this year's Australian Open. The 25-year-old hit 39 winners in his triumph.

Date: 4 July 2019, Source: ATP and AFP

Federer rallies to win Wimbledon opener

Roger Federer had to overcome an early deficit on Tuesday as he began his journey for a record-extending ninth Wimbledon title. But the 37-year-old Swiss soon restored normalcy, racing past South African Lloyd Harris 3-6, 6-1, 6-2, 6-2 to win his 17th consecutive Wimbledon opener.

The second seed broke six times to rally against Harris, the 22-year-old who was an alternate at last year's Next Gen ATP Finals in Milan and was making his Wimbledon debut.

The 6'4” right-hander, however, had the Centre Court crowd murmuring as he returned aggressively and broke in the sixth game, the first time Federer had been broken in the first round of Wimbledon since 2012 against Spain's Albert Ramos-Vinolas.

Harris then took the opener, marking the first time Federer had lost his first set at Wimbledon since 2010 against Colombian Alejandro Falla, a match the Swiss won in five sets.

But Federer settled down quickly and went on attack against Harris, whose level slipped after the opener. Federer won 29 of his 31 net points (94%) for the match and finished with 42 winners to only 14 unforced errors.

“I felt the court was slow. I couldn't really have any impact. He was doing a good job of returning me. I wasn't hitting my spots, and he was reading my serve, or he was just doing a good job,” Federer said.

“I just struggled early on, my legs were frozen and the ball was not going where I wanted it to. He was hitting big and things were going quickly. I was nervous for a set and a half. In defence, you're weak. The next thing you know you're struggling. That's what I had going. So it took a good effort from me. Lloyd played a good match.

“But I think with my experience I stayed calm. I know I have other things in the bag that I can come up with, other tricks. I just took a bit of time.”

The Swiss won his 10th title in Halle on 23 June for his 102nd tour-level title and 19th on grass. Five of the eight times Federer has won Wimbledon, he's won Halle as well. Federer will next meet Brit Jay Clarke, who beat American Noah Rubin 4-6, 7-5, 6-4, 6-4. Federer won the Wimbledon junior boys' title the in 1998, the year the 20-year-old Clarke was born.

Federer has not lost in the first round of a Grand Slam since 2003 Roland Garros (l. to Luis Horna). The Swiss has lost in the Wimbledon first round three times: on debut as a wild card in 1999 (l. Jiri Novak), in 2000 (l. Yevgeny Kafelnikov) and as the seventh seed in 2002 (l. Mario Ancic).

Date: 2 July 2019, Source: ATP and AFP

Federer wins 10th Halle title

Roger Federer made history on Sunday in Halle, defeating David Goffin 7-6 (2), 6-1 to win a record 10th Noventi Open title. It is the first time that Federer has earned 10 crowns at one tournament, joining Rafael Nadal as the only men in the Open Era to accomplish the feat.

"It’s amazing. For some reason I didn’t think I was going to make it anymore. Didn’t think of it much. I just thought match-for-match because the second round and quarters were so tough that I never really thought about how it would feel if I won and now it’s reality," Federer said. "It’s the first time ever I could win a title 10 times in one place, so it’s obviously a very special moment in my career."

This is Federer’s 102nd tour-level title, moving to within seven trophies of Jimmy Connors' record of 109. It is also the Swiss star’s 19th tour-level victory on grass.

Only four other active players own at least 19 titles on all surfaces combined. Federer is also the oldest tour-level champion since 43-year-old Ken Rosewall won at 1977 Hong Kong, giving him plenty of momentum as he heads to Wimbledon to pursue his ninth title at the grass-court Grand Slam.

No. 10 in Halle didn’t come easily, though. Federer had to battle through two three-setters in his first three matches of the week. And Goffin, who despite only winning one of eight previous ATP Head to Head meetings against the top seed, had shown his ability to beat Federer on a big stage by doing so in the semi-finals of the 2017 ATP Finals.

Goffin looked comfortable in early rallies, especially those of the backhand-to-backhand variety. Federer began to run around his backhand to strike forehands even more than he usually does. And at 2-2 in the opener, the Belgian earned three consecutive break points. But he missed a return and then made two straight forehand errors to let slip those chances.

And although Federer did not earn a break point in the first set, he was able to serve his way to a tie-break. The top seed then significantly raised his level, and at 3/1 he even hit a half-volley winner off a strong return from Goffin, later winning the set when the Belgian launched a forehand return long.

"He was the better player for probably the first 10 games of the match. He had more chances. He had big chances, too," Federer said. "Then I played a really good tie-break."

Federer maintained his level from there, immediately pressuring the 28-year-old’s serve to start the second set, and earning the break when Goffin dumped a double fault into the net. The World No. 3 was relentless from there, earning a second break at 3-1 when Goffin sliced a forehand long.

"I was able to run away with the lead getting the break early on in the second and I think that maybe calmed down my nerves," Federer said. "His level might have dropped just a tiny bit, but it was tough to play with the shadows, it’s a fast court. David of course also had a great week, so clearly he was feeling it from the baseline. But I was able to tough it out and at the end I was able to really play some great tennis, so I couldn’t be happier right now."

Federer is now 68-7 in Halle, and those 68 victories are his second-most for an event that is not a Grand Slam, trailing only his hometown tournament in Basel, where he has won 71 matches. In 17 Halle appearances, Federer has never failed to advance to at least the quarter-finals.

Federer is the first player to claim three tour-level titles in 2019. He also owns a 32-4 record, and his 88.9 winning percentage is the best of anyone on the ATP Tour. That puts him in a strong position heading into Wimbledon.

"Every time I’ve won in Halle, I went on to play really well at Wimbledon. It’s never a guarantee of course, but I’ve been on the Tour for long enough to know what it means," Federer said. "Most important is I know I’m injury-free. I’m going to have a couple of days off I guess and then get ready once I’m going to be at Wimbledon practising again. But for now I’m going to enjoy this one, rest up a little bit, and then look forward to the rest."

Federer first competed in Halle as an 18-year-old in 2000. No player from that singles draw still competes on the ATP Tour. Federer’s coach, Ivan Ljubicic, and Goffin’s coach, Thomas Johansson, played the Noventi Open that year.

Date: 23 June 2019, Source: ATP

Federer faces Goffin in his 13th Halle final

Roger Federer defeated Frenchman Pierre-Hugues Herbert 6-3, 6-3 to reach his 13th final in Halle, the most in the ATP 500 event’s history. The World No. 3 will face David Goffin in the championship match, an opportunity for the Swiss to claim his 10th title here. If Federer accomplishes the feat, it will be the first time he has lifted 10 trophies at a single tournament.

"It is very, very special. I am glad I got another chance this year, because last year I really didn't know if I would ever play another Halle final," Federer said.

"It’s great. I thought it was a very solid performance from me. I didn’t struggle on serve and when I had my opportunities on the return, I was able to take them. I was just really focussed, a point-for-point mentality. I think that is what’s going to get me over the line tomorrow."

The 101-time tour-level titlist also has an opportunity to move closer to Jimmy Connors’ record of 109 tour-level trophies. If Federer emerges victorious against Goffin, it will be the 16th time he has claimed at least three tour-level crowns in a season.

Federer, now 67-7 in Halle, had to battle through two three-setters to make the last four. But playing Herbert for the first time, Federer broke serve three times and did not face a break point, winning 88 of his service points en route to a 63-minute triumph.

"I was able to find some good energy today, especially in the important moments, because the past couple days have been tough," Federer said. "It’s been a lot of tennis, so this is maybe exactly what I need going into the final."

Federer set the tone by breaking in his first return game of the match, and he never looked back from there. It is the first match this week in which the 37-year-old did not face break point.

Herbert, the No. 43 player in the ATP Rankings, typically plays the role of the aggressor, trying to move into net and use his strong volleying to take points into his own hands. But Federer used a dagger-like backhand slice at times to bring the Frenchman into the forecourt on the Swiss' terms, making it more comfortable for Federer and less so for Herbert.

The top seed takes his ATP Head to Head series lead of 7-1 into the final against Goffin, including a straight-sets victory here in Halle three years ago. In Federer’s seven victories against the Belgian, Goffin has won a total of one set. But the 28-year-old earned one of the biggest wins of his career by upsetting Federer in the semi-finals of the 2017 ATP Finals.

"He’s a great guy. I really like his game. He’s got one of the best backhand in the game. He is super fast on his feet and he’s got great footing on a court that’s really difficult," Federer said. "He played a great match against Berrettini today to stop his run and also against Zverev. I watched that match and that was mighty impressive. So I think I’m going to have a tough final, anyway at this stage, but particularly against David, who I have a lot of respect for."

Date: 22 June 2019, Source: ATP

Federer hoping to avoid three sets in Halle semifinal

Roger Federer said he was hoping for some easier victories after a battling 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 win over Spain's Roberto Bautista Agut to reach the last four of the ATP event in Halle for the 15th time.

World number three Federer is chasing a record-extending tenth title on the Halle grass as he warms up for Wimbledon next month, but has had to scrap to stay in the tournament this week.

He prevailed in a gruelling three-set encounter with Jo-Wilfried Tsonga on Thursday, and was taken the distance again by Bautista Agut in Friday's quarter-final.

"My body is reacting well to the grass, so I would prefer the matches to be shorter. But if not, it's no problem. I have enough time to recover before Wimbledon," said Federer.

The Swiss improved his ATP Head to Head against Bautista Agut to 9-0.

"Roberto is a top player and he has beaten top guys before, played good at big events, gives the best players a hard time and beats them sometimes. You’ve got to expect him to come out there and play a tough match," said Federer. "He’s able to stay in the rallies on the grass court and he has a very dangerous forehand. I’m not surprised about the tough match and enjoyed the battle."

The Swiss next faces Andy Murray's Wimbledon doubles partner Pierre-Hugues Herbert in Saturday's semi-finals.

"I know Pierre-Hugues well. He returns well and looks to get to the net, which makes him a great grass player," said Federer.

Herbert won the first set of his quarter-final 7-5 against reigning champion Borna Coric, before the Croatian retired with a back problem.

The 28-year-old Frenchman said that he felt an "unbelievable energy" going into his first-ever meeting with Federer.

"It will be unbelievable for me to face Roger. I have played against Nadal, against Djokovic, against Murray, but never against him. It was a dream come true," said Herbert.

Date: 21 June 2019, Source: AFP and ATP

Federer beats Tsonga to reach Halle QF

Roger Federer held off some of Jo-Wilfried Tsonga's best hitting to reach his 17th Noventi Open quarter-final on Thursday and keep alive his hopes for a record-extending 10th title in Halle. Federer advanced past Tsonga 7-6 (5), 4-6, 7-5 in another high-octane contest between the two veterans who both hit their full strides at times inside Gerry Weber Stadion.

I had a bit of everything, happiness, sadness, frustration,” Federer said. “At the end I got very close and maybe also a little lucky. You have to be. Because at 5-all in the third on grass, on a court like this, against Jo Willi, you’re not really controlling things anymore. It was close but the crowd was fantastic. Obviously it was a great emotion at the end, which was nice.”

Tsonga had beaten Federer during their only prior grass-court meeting, coming back from two sets down in the 2011 Wimbledon quarter-finals. But the Swiss started well and looked to be en route to another straight-sets win in Germany after he converted his third set point in the opener and broke to start the second.

The top seed ran around a Tsonga second serve and belted an inside-in forehand winner down the line to gain the set and break lead. He was at his aggressive best all match, coming forward often and ending the point with swinging volleys. Federer won 16 of his 27 trips to the net (59%).

But Tsonga found his characteristic big groundstrokes in time to break in the sixth and 10th games of the second set, punishing forehands that Federer couldn't handle at net. The two were on serve until the 11th game of the deciding set, when Federer, as the fans screamed for the nine-time champion, raised his level to break once more. He ended their 18th contest with his seventh ace.

Jo was able to pick up his game and do better especially on the return,” Federer said. “I thought it was tough but for me, the key was clearly to stay positive because I wasn't down in the score, it was just only even at one-set all, and I fought as much as I could and tried to stay with him because he really was able to pick up his game.

I always knew it was going to be tight because he has got a great first serve. He's got all the chances to hit great forehands. He remains dangerous throughout, and I knew obviously once I gave away that lead things will get very, very tight and they did. It was a great match, great atmosphere. I really enjoyed it.”

Federer now leads their ATP Head to Head series 12-6.

The Swiss will next meet Spain's Roberto Bautista Agut, who beat two-time Wimbledon semi-finalist (2007, 2015) Richard Gasquet of France 6-1, 6-4. Federer is 8-0 against Bautista Agut, which includes a straight-sets win at 2015 Wimbledon, their only grass-court encounter. Bautista Agut has won only one of their 19 sets.

Roberto wins his points differently than Jo does. Jo does it with the serve and forehand and the power and the variety and his explosiveness, whereas Roberto does it through just doing the same thing in repetition, and he's also got a great forehand like Jo has,” Federer said.

From my side, I might have more play from the baseline, but then again we might be in more rallies on my serve, too. I'm looking forward to it. I have a good head-to-head against him and I’ve beaten him at Wimbledon once on the grass before. I hope that's going to give me some confidence.”

Date: 20 June 2019, Source: ATP

Federer off to winning start in Halle

Roger Federer began his bid for a record-extending 10th Halle Open title with a 7-6 (1), 6-3 win over Australia's John Millman on Tuesday, with defending champion Borna Coric also advancing.

Federer, who lost to Coric in last year's final, hit nine aces and saved the only break point he faced to beat Millman in 1 hour, 17 minutes.

“I always think any way you get through is a good way because the next match will always feel different. I think with John having beaten me at the US Open, I knew it was going be tough. So thankfully I wasn’t too nervous. I think I had a clear game plan. I knew that it was going to be more difficult for him to dominate the baseline. Conditions are faster here so I’m able to control the tempo of the match a little bit more.

“It is always important to win your first match on grass, because otherwise the grass season can be very short,” Federer said.

Federer next faces Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who defeated French compatriot Benoit Paire 6-4, 7-5 at the grass-court tournament. He leads his rivalry with Tsonga 11-6, but the Frenchman has won their past two matchups - at 2016 Monte Carlo and 2014 Canada. The two have played on grass only once, a five-set win for Tsonga in the 2011 Wimbledon quarter-finals.

Federer already has the best grass-court record in the Open era with 18 titles, and the 37-year-old can set a personal record with his 10th at a single event in Halle.

Date: 18 June 2019, Source: AP and ATP

Federer: "I'm fresh, rested and ready for grass court season"

Despite topping the list for most trophies on the surface, 18-time grass titlist Roger Federer admitted the short nature of the grass-court season provides a unique challenge ahead of the Noventi Open in Halle.

"The pressure is high for me too. The grass-court season is extremely short," said Federer. "There is not that much I can do to get into it as well, other than have that point-for-point mentality. My focus needs to be crystal clear and that is what I need to have from the get-go here as I play John Millman in the first round, who has been a tough one for me in the past."

Fresh from his semi-final run at Roland Garros, the World No. 3 will face extra pressure in his opening match on the surface this year against Millman, as the Aussie stunned Federer in four sets in the fourth round of last year’s US Open.

However, Federer is a nine-time champion in Halle. Also a nine-time Swiss Indoors Basel titlist, Federer has reached the quarter-finals or better in each of his previous 16 appearances in Halle and will be keen to go one step further than his runner-up finish to Borna Coric last year. Federer owns a 9-3 record in Halle championship matches and a 63-7 tournament record.

"I think I look back down memory lane a little bit here," said Federer. "I see how many good moments I've had here, I see how much success I've had. The fan interaction is special. I feel like we know eachother, they know what they get from me and I know what to expect from them. It makes me feel really good and makes me play good tennis."

Federer arrives in Halle after competing on clay for the first time since 2016. The 101-time tour-level titlist reached quarter-finals at ATP Masters 1000 events in Rome and Madrid, before a semi-final run at Roland Garros.

"I feel great, to be honest. I am happy to be on the grass, regardless of if I played good or bad on the clay, or if I didn't play at all," said Federer. "I always feel happy coming to this surface and this part of the season. I have always loved playing here in Halle for so many years. This is my 17th time playing this event."

Due to his participation on the European clay, Federer's grass-court preparations have been abbreviated in comparison to 2017 and 2018. In the past two years, the Swiss returned to action a week earlier at the Mercedes Cup in Stuttgart following a three-month break after the Miami Open.

"Compared to the past few years, I have had much less time to prepare for the grass-court season," said Federer. "Not having played on clay in 2017 and 2018, I had plenty of time. So, I don't want to say I feel stressed, but the transition was definitely faster than in the past few years."

But Federer's efforts on the red dirt have given the World No. 3 plenty of reasons for positivity. The nine-time Halle champion notched nine wins from 11 tour-level encounters on the surface, with his only losses coming against Dominic Thiem in Madrid and Rafael Nadal at Roland Garros.

"I was really positive about my clay-court swing. I lost against the best clay-court player ever, so there is no shame there," said Federer. "I tried everything I had and we played in unbelievably windy conditions. It was really challenging. I loved it actually, to play Rafa in that situation, the way it was. But I left Paris very positively."

With a new surface, there is a new challenge. But there aren't many challenges more familiar to Federer than playing on grass. The 20-time Grand Slam champion, who owns an 87.1 per cent win percentage on the surface (176-26), shared his thoughts on how grass elevates his game to new heights.

"Grass highlights my strength and it maybe hides my weaknesses. From that standpoint, I can play how I want, on my terms, how I would like. When you feel that way, it is maybe what Rafa feels on the clay. I have all the options and when you have options, it gives you options to win and different tactics you can use against different players. That gives you maybe that little bit more margin you need to stay out of trouble and win matches.

"I feel fresh, rested and ready for the grass season now," said Federer, who will target a ninth Wimbledon win in July.

"The surface suits me. I like the intuitive, aggressive game. Matches on grass are often decided in a few rallies. You have to stay awake and concentrated. Winning the tournament always has to be my goal in Halle."

Date: 16 June 2019, Source: ATP

Nadal: "Federer is the best player in history"

Rafael Nadal hailed Roger Federer as "the best player in history" after blowing his old rival away in the Paris wind to reach a 12th French Open final. Federer felt the full force of the 11-time Roland Garros champion with the storm fast approaching on Friday.

Defending champion Nadal won 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 with winds of up to 130 kilometres per hour gusting on Court Philippe Chatrier. The wind barely dropped all match with both players buffeted throughout, and rubbing grit from their eyes from time to time.

Nadal had not beaten the 20-time Grand Slam winner in their last five matches, a run stretching back five years and, despite taking just two hours and 25 minutes to down the Swiss great, the second seed said it was by no means straightforward.

"It was a pleasure to play Roger. It was a high level all three sets, which was remarkable in this wind. It's incredible, congratulations to Roger. He is incredible to play at this level aged 37," Nadal said in his on-court interview after ending Federer's first French Open appearance for four years.

"He is the best player in history and it's been a great pleasure to play against Roger. Him and me know each other. We played many times against each other. But these are matches where we can always find this small plus, this additional shot.

"And when I play against Roger, I always expect the best from him."

Date: 8 June 2019, Source: Omnisport and Reuters

Federer: "I enjoyed clay court season and Roland Garros"

Roger Federer has played 1,472 ATP Tour matches and faced hundreds of opponents throughout his 21-year career. But after his 3-6, 4-6, 2-6 Roland Garros semi-final loss to Rafael Nadal, his sixth to the Spaniard at this event, he admitted his clay-court battles against the 11-time champion are unmatched in difficulty.

“He makes you feel uncomfortable the way he defends the court and plays on clay. There is nobody who even plays remotely close to him,” said Federer. “I don't even know who I need to go search for to go practice with somebody who plays like him. It's just amazing how he plays from deep and then is able to bounce back and forth from the baseline.”

The Swiss star powered into the semi-finals for the first time since 2012. Competing with a larger racquet head for the first time at the second major of the year, Federer’s backhand had more bite than in previous visits and allowed for even greater success in rushing the net. He won 127 of 175 net points (72.6%) in his first five rounds and went to the net 60 times in his quarter-final victory over Stan Wawrinka.

But Federer’s trips to the net on Friday had two things working against him. Not only does Nadal love a target, but brutal winds topping 39 miles per hour slowed his approaches and enabled the Spaniard to comfortably rip passing shots. Federer won just 17 of 35 net points (48%) on the day.

“I think the first set was mostly about getting used to conditions,” said Federer. “It was incredibly windy. Especially for a big match like this for both of us, it's just really complicated. So you're trying to see how much can you do or can you not do? Are you playing flatter or with more spin? Are you keeping the ball in play? Are you going for stuff? I think that was basically the story of the first set, more or less.

“Second set, I think there is definitely a big regret to get broken at 2-0 with the wind on my back,” said Federer. “If I can avoid that one, maybe the second set turns out to be different. But I think holding serve against the wind with Rafa's quality on the return is just really hard. He barely misses any.

“And then when he's in the rally, he plays with great spin on the forehand, great sort of control on the backhand side. So it's just really hard to find holes, especially in the wind, if you're trying to hit through the ball, which is really difficult, actually. But it was windy for both. He was better, no doubt about it. But I had maybe mini chances today, but they were not big enough to win today.

“You get to a point where you're just happy to make shots and not look ridiculous. It's that bad,” said Federer of the swirling winds. “There is also no way to practice in these conditions. It's all a mindset. It's footwork. It was difficult, but I accept that. He played in an incredible way. He has incredible abilities on clay. I knew that ahead of time.”

Despite the loss, Federer can consider his clay-court season a success. Before the start of the clay season, the Swiss admitted being unsure if he remembered how to slide on the surface after not competing on it for three years. He finished it with a 9-2 record, only losing to Nadal and Dominic Thiem. Federer also got 1,080 ATP Rankings points during this stretch, cementing his position at No. 3 and moving him closer to catching Nadal at No. 2.

The always vocal Parisian fans showed their appreciation at having the chance to watch Federer for the first time since 2015, showering him with even more adoration than he typically received over the years on Court Philippe Chatrier. The love from the crowd made the 20-time Grand Slam champion hint that his return to clay will become a staple in his final years on tour.

“I thought it was a great tournament. I really enjoyed it. Crowd support couldn't have been better. Maybe one of the best ever in my entire 20-year career that I have been on tour at a Grand Slam,” said Federer. “They were always there for me, supporting me in practice, at the matches, on the grounds whenever I came and showed up. They were always happy to see me. So that was nice.

“I think I surprised myself maybe with how deep I got in this tournament and how well I actually was able to play throughout. Next year, just like with any other tournament, I don't know. We'll see what happens. But I definitely enjoyed the clay-court season and Roland Garros, so that would help the chances to return to the clay. It's not like it's been a shocker. So from that standpoint, it's okay.”

Date: 7 June 2019, Source: ATP

Federer says the road to clay glory goes through Nadal

If you're left-handed, currently in Paris and can break a nasty serve wide to the ad court, you might just be who Roger Federer is looking for.

Deep into the second week of Roland Garros, options for lefty practice partners are somewhat limited. But Federer is in need of lefty practice partners during the next two days as he prepares for his blockbuster Friday semi-final against arch rival Rafael Nadal.

Looking forward to their 39th ATP Head to Head meeting, Federer said that playing Nadal at Roland Garros was a massive challenge despite his own excellent form that he will take into the match.

“With Rafa, particularly on clay, you have to be aware of his strengths, what he brings to the table. And on top of it, because he's a left-hander, it just changes everything,” Federer said.

“I have two days, which I guess is a good thing. It's better than one. It's better than none. So from that standpoint, I get more left-handed practice, more serves and all that stuff.

“Because I guess I have played five guys now that are righties, so for me it's a complete switch-around. Just the way the ball goes out of your strings with the different spins, it's just different. So you have to get used to that quickly. Don't have much time to waste.

“That's why you have to be fearless to some extent to take on the spinny balls, the sliding balls, the kicking balls, and that's what I will do on Friday.”

Nadal and Federer have met just once on clay in the past eight years: in 2013 in Rome. And they have not met on clay since Federer switched to a larger racquet head, which offers more protection against Nadal’s signature crosscourt forehand, which historically has haunted Federer on the dirt.

Although Federer is a modest 2-13 against Nadal on clay - including 0-5 at Roland Garros - the Swiss said that he believes he has a chance to advance to the final. On the upside, the Swiss is on a five-match winning streak against Nadal, the longest run in his favour in their rivalry, which Nadal leads 23-15.

“Like against any player, there is always a chance. Otherwise nobody will be in the stadium to watch because everybody already knows the result in advance,” Federer said. “And I think sport does that to you, that every match needs to be played before it's decided.

“And that's exactly what everybody believes by facing Rafa. They know it's going to be tough. But you just never know. He might have a problem. He might be sick. You never know. You might be playing great or for some reason he's struggling. Maybe there's incredible wind, rain, 10 rain delays. You just don't know. That's why you need to put yourself in that position.

“For me to get to Rafa is not simple. It took five matches here for me to win to get there. That's why I'm very happy to play Rafa, because if you want to do or achieve something on the clay, inevitably, at some stage, you will go through Rafa, because he's that strong and he will be there.

“I knew that when I signed up for the clay that hopefully that's gonna happen. If I would have had a different mindset to avoid him, then I should not have played the clay. So I think by that mindset, I think it helped me to play so well so far this tournament.”

Date: 5 June 2019, Source: ATP

Federer beats Wawrinka, plays Nadal in Roland Garros semifinal

Roger Federer is competing at Roland Garros for the first time in four years, but it certainly hasn’t seemed like it this fortnight.

After a rain delay that lasted more than an hour, Federer surged past fellow Swiss Stan Wawrinka 7-6 (4), 4-6, 7-6 (5), 6-4 in three hours and 35 minutes Tuesday, advancing to the semi-finals on the Parisian terre for the first time since 2012.

"I'm very happy, number one, to be back in another semi-finals of a Grand Slam. It hasn't happened in the past year or so. I had some tough losses in fourth rounds or quarters. So from that standpoint, I exceeded my expectations here," Federer said. "After missing the French for so many years, it's nice to be back in the semis, so that's a great feeling."

Federer seized early control against former World No. 3 Wawrinka, but the mishits and missed opportunities began to pile up for the 2009 titlist, as he suddenly was two Wawrinka holds away from going down two sets to one. But Federer remained calm and regained the momentum during the roller-coaster match by winning a crucial third-set tie-break, only for the adrenaline to wear off as threatening clouds sent the compatriots off the court.

Instead of faltering, though, Federer earned his second break of the match when they returned to court and after saving a break chance, punched a forehand volley into the open court to become the second-oldest man to make the semi-finals at Roland Garros, trailing only Pancho Gonzales, who was 40 in 1968.

Federer will next meet his greatest rival, 11-time champion Rafael Nadal, for the first time since 2017 Shanghai. They were set to battle in the semi-finals of this year’s BNP Paribas Open, but Nadal withdrew due to an injury. Their 39th ATP Head to Head clash (Nadal leads 23-15) will be their first on clay since 2013 Rome.

"Now I have the match with Rafa, and I'm clearly excited," Federer said. "I hope I can recover well in the next couple days, which I'm sure I will, and I'll give it my best shot on Friday."

Perhaps it’s fitting that Federer’s quarter-final victory came against Wawrinka, who ousted him in the last eight four years ago in straight sets. Federer now leads his good friend 23-3 in their ATP Head to Head, but entering the match the 37-year-old only had a 4-3 advantage on clay.

The third seed struggled converting break points, winning just 2 of 18 in the match, as Wawrinka consistently was aggressive to take matters into his own hands. But Federer held his nerve in the tie-breaks, dropping only two combined service points in both of them.

At the start of the match, Federer was cruising along on serve, using variety on the backhand side - going big, finding the short crosscourt angle, and varying the rhythm of rallies with a short chip - to play on his terms. But the 101-time tour-level titlist missed out on his first eight chances of the match as Wawrinka showed no fear in going for it under pressure.

Those missed chances nearly came back to haunt Federer, as Wawrinka, the three-time Grand Slam champion, converted his first two break points, using the first to win the second set and the next one to take a 4-3 lead in the third set. Suddenly, Federer began to mishit shots as he fell further behind the baseline, and Wawrinka added even more juice to his powerful strokes to overwhelm his compatriot in rallies and put more pressure on the World No. 3 to go for more from tougher positions.

But Wawrinka, who needed five hours and nine minutes to win his fourth-round match against reigning Next Gen ATP Finals champion Stefanos Tsitsipas, finally cracked at 4-3 in the third. In the seventh different game in which he faced a break point, the No. 24 seed decelerated on a low forehand approach shot near the service line, and the ball sailed well long to allow Federer back on serve.

And from there, Federer began to find his service rhythm and work his way back into rallies again, throwing in more drop shots and using a timely stretch backhand drop volley in the ensuing tie-break to take the lead before closing out the third set.

When the Swiss stars returned to Court Suzanne Lenglen at 3-3 in the fourth set, Federer made clear his intentions to run around his backhand to hit forehands on second-serve returns, after missing many backhand returns long earlier on. And that strategy paid dividends, as he broke for 5-4, before saving a break point with a reflexed drop volley and serving out his victory. Federer is the oldest major semi-finalist since 39-year-old Jimmy Connors at the 1991 US Open.

"It wasn't super explosive on clay, especially if he plays from far behind, and I also decided to play from far back. So we found a rhythm, which maybe okay for both of us. I don't know if it would have been better for me to play more to the front and take the ball sooner," Federer said. "But it worked, and I'm happy about that. But I'm not surprised he reached that level, because we know how strong he is both mentally and physically."

Wawrinka, who earned his 500th tour-level win with his third-round triumph against Grigor Dimitrov, was pursuing his fourth Roland Garros semi-final. The 34-year-old underwent two knee surgeries in August 2017, and he has been battling his way back into form ever since, falling as low as No. 263 in the ATP Rankings last June. Wawrinka will return to the Top 20 next Monday.

"Only a few points could have changed a little bit the match, but I think I was playing well in those moments. He was a bit more aggressive," Wawrinka said. "This court was quite fast and slippery. It was important to be aggressive, to be inside the court, and he did that better than me.

"He was playing the way I expect him to play against me and on clay court," Wawrinka added. "There is no surprise anymore in what we are doing. It's just about who's going to play the best in those important points, and he did that better than me today."

Date: 4 June 2019, Source: ATP

Federer into second week at Roland Garros

Roger Federer booked his place in the fourth round at Roland Garros for a 14th time on Friday afternoon, weathering a resurgence from Casper Ruud in the third set, which saw the Norwegian right-hander hold one set point at 7/6 in the tie-break. The 2009 champion eventually won 6-3, 6-1, 7-6 (8) to surpass Budge Patty's 13 Round of 16 showings from 1946 to 1958.

I liked how he figured things out after going on a tough run there of nine games. The third set could have gone either way. He had chances early, then later, and then again after,” Federer said. “It was nice to see him hang in there. I thought the first set also was tough. I can see why he's going to be good in the future. He's got a great attitude, very calm, very quiet.”

Federer, returning to Roland Garros for the first time since 2015, outhit and outthought the 20-year-old Norwegian in the intergenerational battle, serving and volleying on second serves with success and avoiding lengthy rallies.

Nearly 120 points were decided between zero and three shots, while only 17 points endured for nine shots or more.

I enjoyed the match. I thought it was tough, even though I had a good run there for a while. And that also is very important for me to know, that I can run through a set and a half and just take care of business and gives me confidence for the next match,” Federer said. “The first goal has been reached by getting this deep into the tournament, and knowing where the game's at, knowing where the fitness is, the mind.”

He will next face Argentine Leonardo Mayer, who beat French wild card Nicolas Mahut 3-6, 7-6 (3), 6-4, 7-6 (3) to make his first Round of 16 at Roland Garros during his 10th main-draw showing here. Mayer also made the fourth round at the 2014 Wimbledon (l. to Dimitrov).

Federer said before his third-round match that he probably knew more about Casper's father and coach, Christian Ruud, who joined Federer in three Roland Garros draws from 1999-2001, than he did about Casper.

The 20-year-old was playing in his first Grand Slam third round and made his best ATP Masters 1000 showing earlier this month by making the Round of 16 in Rome. He hung with Federer to start, but the Swiss broke twice in each of the first two sets to take the lead.

Ruud rallied in the third, breaking early, and although he was unable to consolidate, he stepped into the court to force a tie-break, where Federer clinched his fourth match point.

“I feel that my 20 years on the tour went too fast almost,” Federer reflected. “When you play against people like Casper Ruud, you ask, ‘how was it at the time?’ When I started on the tour he was hardly born.”

And today Federer became the first player to play 400 Grand Slam matches.

It's true I played many matches in Grand Slam tournaments, and it's even more pleasant to do this in Roland Garros, because I have a lot of records, milestones from Wimbledon or the US Open. But doing anything in Roland is very special, because I played a lot here. It was my first Grand Slam where I was in the main draw, Federer said.

Date: 31 May 2019, Source: ATP and Roland Garros