Mon, Jun 18, 2012 - Page 19 News List

Federer reaches his seventh Halle final

MAKING HIS MARK:The Swiss tennis player is aiming to win his 75th tour title, two behind all-time leader John McEnroe. Federer says, though, that he plans to win more

AP, HALLE, GERMANY

David Nalbandian of Argentina hits a return to Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria in their men’s singles tennis match at the Queen’s Club tournament in London on Saturday.

Photo: Reuters

Roger Federer was scheduled to face German wild card Tommy Haas in a bid to win the Gerry Weber Open for a record sixth time yesterday.

The second-seeded Federer beat Mikhail Youzhny of Russia by 6-1, 6-4 to reach his seventh final, while the 87th-ranked Haas defeated defending champion Philipp Kohlschreiber 7-6 (5), 7-5 in Saturday’s semi-finals.

“It’s a dream to be able to play him again in the final, he’s a good friend of mine,” said Haas, the oldest player in the singles draw at 34.

Kohlschreiber knocked out Rafael Nadal on Friday, when 2009 winner Haas defeated third-seeded Tomas Berdych.

After taking the first set on a tiebreaker, recovering from 4-1 down by winning six of the next seven points, Haas broke decisively in the 11th game of the second set to lead 6-5 before wrapping up the match.

“I said it all week, that Tommy’s playing fantastic tennis,” Kohlschreiber said.

Federer is aiming to win his 75th tour title, only two behind all-time leader John McEnroe.

“That would be nice, but I want more titles. If I only get three more, then the years ahead don’t look too good for me,” Federer said.

The Swiss broke Youzhny twice to wrap up the first set in 21 minutes. He was in such control that one fan implored him to slow down.

The 16-time Gram Slam champion responded by breaking twice more, before dropping serve to lead 5-3.

Federer wasted three break points in the next game, but sealed the match in the following one with his eighth ace.

“It was nice to come out and play some decent tennis after -yesterday’s shootout drill,” Federer said, referring to his tiebreaker win over Milos Raonic of Canada in the quarter-finals.

The 29-year-old Youzhny has never beaten Federer in 13 attempts.

“Mikhail played a great tournament, and he deserves respect for the way he fought back in the second set,” Federer said.

Federer’s only final defeat at Halle was to Lleyton Hewitt in 2010. He is bidding for his fifth title of the season after wins in Rotterdam, Dubai, Indian Wells and Madrid.

“[Haas] is very dangerous on grass. So it won’t be an easy final for me,” Federer said.

QUEEN’S CLUB

REUTERS, LONDON

David Nalbandian reached his first grasscourt final since losing to Lleyton Hewitt at Wimbledon in 2002 when he ended Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov’s run in the semi-finals of the Queen’s Club tournament on Saturday.

The Argentine beat 21-year-old Dimitrov 6-4, 6-4 and was to play Marin Cilic in yesterday’s final after the Croat overcame American Sam Querrey, the 2010 champion at Queen’s, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3.

“He’s a tough player,” Nalbandian said of sixth seed Cilic. “We have played a few times.”

“I know he has a good serve, but I think I’m playing good. I’m in good shape and let’s see what happens,” Nalbandian said.

Both players struggled to hit the high notes in their semi-finals, which were affected by gusting winds in west London that made serving difficult.

Nalbandian, seeded 10th here, and Cilic last met in a feisty five-set Davis Cup match in Buenos Aires in April when the Croat registered his only victory in five attempts over the former world No. 3.

Cilic remembers how the 30-year-old Nalbandian used to try to unsettle him when he was first making his way in the game.

“I know when I played him first time it was actually my first live Davis Cup rubber in 2006,” Cilic told reporters. “He was ranked No. 4. I was 17 years old. He was pretty intimidating, having those few tricks of his. [When you are] warming up, he just hits the ball a little harder, trying to show he can accelerate and push you a little bit to become more nervous. But now it’s different. When you are at that age it’s not easy.”

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