Twenty-year-old German Alexander Zverev defeated Richard Gasquet at the Halle Open in Germany on Saturday.
His hard fought three set win means Zverev now goes on to face Roger Federer in a rematch of last year’s semi-final, which the German won.
Zverev booked his second successive final spot when he beat Frenchman Gasquet 4-6 6-4 6-3.
Gasquet, a two-time Wimbledon semi-finalist, grabbed the first set against Zverev with a break at 5-4.
But he quickly fell behind in the second as Zverev, a finalist last year, who has already won three titles in 2017, charged to a 4-2 lead and held on to take the set.
The world number 12 booked his final spot after breaking at 3-3 and finishing the Frenchman off with another break to set up the showdown with Federer.
On the forthcoming clash with Federer, Zverev said, “Well, it’s a final. He’s playing really good tennis. It’s going to be a very tough match. I’ll prepare myself the best I can, but he’s definitely the favourite in that match.”
Top seed Roger Federer reached the Halle Open semi-finals on Friday, beating defending champion Florian Mayer 6-3 6-4 and edging closer to a ninth title at the Wimbledon tune-up event.
The 18-time grand slam champion, whose last title at Halle was in 2015, skipped the entire claycourt season after winning the Australian Open and claiming titles at Indian Wells and Miami this year, to prepare for grass.
He will now face rapidly rising talent Karen Khachanov, who won his all-Russian quarter-final against Andrey Rublev 7-6(8) 4-6 6-3 to reach his first tour semi-final of the year.
Federer, who has yet to drop a set in Halle after crashing out of Stuttgart in his first match back last week, limited his serve-and-volley game against the German who is a fine returner and Mayer was broken quickly as his opponent won the first set.
The 33-year-old Mayer squandered two break points at 1-0 in the second set and paid the price as Federer broke again and never relinquished his advantage to win in just over an hour.
After his comeback was cut short by Tommy Haas in Stuttgart last week, Roger Federer is eager to get a win under his belt in the opening round of the Gerry Weber Open in Halle as the Swiss gears up for another tilt at Wimbledon.
Federer, who was stunned 2-6 7-6(8) 6-4 by 302nd ranked German Haas, faces Taiwan’s Lu Yen-Hsun in his opening game in Halle, a tournament the 18-times grand slam champion has won eight times.
“A comeback is never simple, especially on grass where margins are so slim,” Federer, who sat out the entire claycourt season to prepare his bid for an eighth Wimbledon crown, was quoted as saying by the ATP website. (www.atpworldtour.com)
“It’s important for me, especially after the Stuttgart week, to come here and make sure I win my first-round match and get going … The history I have here, having come and played well so often, definitely should help me to play good tennis this week.
“I want to take the right decisions on the tennis court. I don’t want to question myself too much. I’ll have the right focus and mindset, that point-by-point mentality.”
Federer had no regrets about missing the French Open to focus on Wimbledon but said it was a move he was unlikely to repeat.
Roger Federer has pulled out of this month’s French Open as he feels he needs to avoid playing on clay this season in order to prolong his career, the 18-times grand slam champion said on Monday.
The Swiss, who defied logic to win the Australian Open in January after being out of tennis for six months, will skip the May 28-June 11 claycourt major for the second year running after missing last year’s edition through injury.
“I’ve been working really hard, both on and off the court, during the last month but in order to try and play on the ATP World Tour for many years to come, I feel it’s best to skip the claycourt season this year and prepare for the grass and hardcourt seasons,” world number five Federer, who won his sole Roland Garros title in 2009, said on his Facebook page.
“The start to the year has been magical for me but I need to recognise that scheduling will be the key to my longevity moving forward.
“Thus, my team and I concluded today that playing just one event on clay was not in the best interest of my tennis and physical preparation for the remainder of the season.”
Federer, 35, has already won the three biggest titles of the year to date as he followed his triumph in Australia with wins at Indian Wells and the Miami Open.
After that stunning run, Federer, who missed the second half of last year recovering from knee surgery, said that he would likely skip the European claycourt season except for the French Open.
The former world number one’s announcement came a day after Rafael Nadal won his third consecutive claycourt title of the season ahead of the French Open, where the Spaniard will be bidding for his 10th Roland Garros title.
Federer will now focus on being in top form for Wimbledon, which begins on July 3 and where he is a seven-times champion.
Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams were on Tuesday announced as top seeds for the 2015 US Open tennis championship, which will commence next week Monday at Flushing Meadows in New York.
This marks the first time the same man and woman have been the top seeds for three years in a row since Steffi Graf and Ivan Lendl between 1987 – 1989.
World number 1, Williams is looking to win her seventh US Open title, which would surpass Chris Evert for the most US Open singles titles in Open era and a victory in Flushing Meadows would also tie Steffi Grafs’s Open era record of 22 major titles, as well as complete the calendar year grand slam, last won by Graff in 1988.
She is followed on the seeding list by number two, Simona Halep of Romania, a 2014 French Open finalist and Russia’s Maria Sharapova, the 2006 U.S. Open winner,who is seeded third with 2014 U.S. Open finalist Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark seeded fourth.
Petra Kvitova, who won Wimbledon in 2011 and 2014 is seeded fifth, while 2015 French Open finalist Lucie Safarova is seeded sixth.
Five-time U.S. Open champion, Roger Federer is the second seed for the men’s event where the top-10 seeds feature five U.S. Open champions and six grand slam winners.
In addition to 2011 champion, Djokovic of Serbia and Switzerland’s Federer (2004-08), former U.S. champions include Andy Murray (2012), Rafael Nadal (2010, 13) and last year’s winner, Marin Cilic of Croatia.
Scotland’s Murray is seeded third, Spaniard Nadal is eighth and Cilic seeded ninth.
Kei Nishikori of Japan, runner-up last year to Cilic, is seeded fourth, one spot ahead of reigning French Open champion Stan Wawrinka of Switzerland.
Marin Cilic was the man of the moment today at Rome Masters as he toppled the few seeds in action on the clay courts after he smoked out Kazakhstan’s Andrey Golubev 6-4 6-2.
The Croatian seeded 11th is billed to clash with Kevin Anderson, a South African who saw off Jürgen Meltzer of Austria, in the second round.
Argentinean Juan Monaco also fell to lowly rated Benoit Paire as the Frenchman won the first set tiebreak 7-4, but Monaco recovered to take the second 6-1 but went down 6-4 in the final set.
Czech Radek Stepanek also suffered a three-set defeat to Italian Potito Starace. Helped by local support, Starace won 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 to set up a second round meeting with Roger Federer.
Second seed Federer who arrived earlier due to his early exit by Kei Nishirkori in the Madrid Open last week, said he has been practising and he is motivated and hungry to play some fine tennis again.
The Swiss will be starting fresh on Tuesday after the extra time he got to prepare.
“I arrived much earlier because of second round loss in Madrid,” Federer said. “I have been practising well, my body is well, really hungry and motivated to play again. I hope I can play a good tournament here.”
Andy Murray also had a first round bye and will face Spaniard Marcel Granollers who beat Nioklai Davydenko 6-3, 6-4.
The third seed from Britain said the Rome schedule would suit him better than Madrid where he was eliminated in the quarter-finals by Czech Tomas Berdych.
Men’s top seed Novak Djokovic will hope to make up for an early defeat also in Madrid when he begins in the second round on Tuesday against either Spain’s Albert Montanes or Slovakian Martin Klizan.
Rafael Nadal, winner of four clay court titles already this season after returning from injury, will begin with an Italian opponent in round two, either Fabio Fognini or Andreas Seppi.
Serena Williams recorded an easy passage as she majestically strolled into the semi-final of the Rome Masters on Friday when Italian Flavia Pennetta gave up her chance for a place in the semi-finals as she left with a right wrist injury.
Ranked 21, Flavia was treated when she called for medical attention with 3-0 down after which she decided to quit when the scoreline was 4-0 and 40-0 against and in favour of Serena Williams.
According Serena she wasn’t happy with her mode of qualification but it was nice to have a semi-day off.
The American will be meeting China’s Li Na in the semi-final who is the defending champion of the French Open, a match Serena qualified as a test for her playing ability, an ability that won her the Madrid title last week.
Li Na beat Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia 6-1, 7-6 to reach the semis.
Williams is looking forward to the French Open also as she displayed confident ahead of the Open come May 27th.
After being side-lined from July 2010 to June 2011 because of a blood clot in one of her lungs, the world number six said she was now feeling more confident than last summer, when she won back-to-back tournaments before losing in the final at the U.S. Open.
Meanwhile in the men’s game, Rafa Nadal flowed into the semi-final of the Italian Open in fashion he has never done in months as he struck his mark better with an impressive 6-4 7-5 victory over Czech Tomas Berdych today.
Nadal who is presently rated number three in the world is aiming to clinch the title a sixth time as he came from behind to claim victory against the Czech.
Spaniard David Ferrer will be his next opponent in the semis as Ferrer also edged out Frenchman Richard Gasquest with 7-6 6-3 scoreline.
Later today, World number one Novak Djokovic will be facing Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France while Roger Federer, the winner in Madrid for the men’s will face Italian Andreas Seppi.
Fans’ favourite Roger Federer helped himself to a record fifth title when he fought past Britain’s Andy Murray in the final of the Dubai Duty Free Men’s Open at a packed Dubai Tennis Stadium on Saturday night.
Watched by Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Vice-President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirate (UAE) and Ruler of Dubai, and Shaikh Hamdan Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman, Dubai Sports Council, for a major part of the first set, the Swiss went on to record a 7-5, 6-4 victory.
The capacity crowd rose to the occasion to welcome Federer as champion for a record fifth time in Dubai following his earlier successes in 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2007. “I think I played well in the big points tonight and that is what made the difference,” Federer said.
He received the winner’s trophy from Shaikh Hasher Maktoum, Dubai Director of Information and President of Tennis Emirates; Shaikh Ahmad Al Sabah, Chairman, Kuwait Tennis Association; Abdul Rahman Falaknaz, Vice-President, Tennis Emirates; Colm McLoughlin, Executive Vice-Chairman, Dubai Duty Free, and other officials.
Making his fourth appearance here, Murray had never previously got past the quarter-finals. But during the course of the week he showed all signs of maintaining his career edge against the former world No 1.
Playing both Djokovic — whom he beat in the semi-finals — and Federer at the same tournament for the first time ever, Murray was broken for the only time in the opening set in the 11th game. That put Federer 6-5 up and then served out 7-5 in 52 minutes.
In the second set, Federer assumed early control with a break in the third to go 2-1, up but squandered the advantage as Murray bounced right back with a break — the first against Federer’s serve in 65 service games — and then hold for a 3-2 lead.
Federer had not previously been broken since the semi-finals in Rotterdam against Nikolay Davydenko last month.
However, Federer was far from finished as he broke Murray a second time when the Scotsman netted a backhand return in the ninth game to enable the second-seeded Swiss to serve out for set and match in an hour and 36 minutes.
Federer received the winner’s cheque of $409,170 (Dh1.5 million).