Roger Federer showed his lethal best when it mattered most as he beat Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov 6-3, 7-6 (7/2) on Friday to reach the Swiss Indoors semi-finals.
Federer, a five-time champion in the city of his birth, played a second-set tiebreaker to perfection against the 22-year-old.
Seventeen-time major winner Federer also strengthened his position for a place in the eight-man World Tour Finals in London.
He stood provisional seventh as he headed into a semi-final yesterday with Canadian Vasek Pospisil, who beat Ivan Dodig 7-6 (13/11), 6-4.
Federer could qualify for London if he wins a sixth title in Basel today, according to ATP calculations.
The Swiss great improved his record to 18-1 against players born in the 1990s, with his only loss in that category coming in Hamburg this year against Argentine Federico Delbonis.
Top seed Juan Martin del Potro won his 300th career match as he marched into the semi-finals with a 6-4, 6-4 win over Paul-Henri Mathieu.
The top seed and defending champion crushed the French qualifier in 78 minutes and is next to face a second French opponent after Edouard Roger-Vasselin beat Germany’s Daniel Brands 6-3, 4-6, 6-3.
“I played a good match,” said the South American, who sent down 11 aces and never faced a break point.
“I was solid from the baseline and served well. I’ve been working a lot of my serve,” added the Tokyo tournament champion and Shanghai finalist from earlier this month. “I’m playing better and better with each match. I did have a double-fault so I still have a little work to do. I’m looking forward to tomorrow and I’ll have to lift my level even more.”
Del Potro, already qualified for the World Tour Finals, owns a record of 46 wins and 13 losses this year, winning three titles.
Unseeded Canadian Pospisil reached his third semi-final of the season — and the third of his career — as he played after treatment for a stiff neck which had him doubting if he could take to the court.
However, the number 40 managed with physiotherapy and painkillers, beating Croatian Ivan Dodig 7-6 (13/11), 6-4.
AFP, VALENCIA, Spain
World No. 3 David Ferrer reached the semi-finals of the Valencia Open for the fourth consecutive year with a 6-4, 4-6, 6-0 win over fifth seed Jerzy Janowicz.
Ferrer broke the big-serving Pole for the first time this week on his way to taking the opening set, but Janowicz responded with the one break of his own, enough to take the second.
However, Ferrer, the three-time champion in his home region, took control at the start of the decider as the errors flowed from the Janowicz racket to race through the set without the loss of a game.
“It was a very hard game, he served very well,” Ferrer told Spanish TV station Teledeporte.
Next up for Ferrer is compatriot Nicolas Almagro, after the third seed disposed of Italian Fabio Fognini 7-6 (8/6), 6-2 in the evening session.
The other semi-final is to be an all-Russian affair between Mikhail Youzhny and Dmitry Tursunov, after they overcame Jarkko Nieminen and Jeremy Chardy respectively on Friday.