Mon, Jun 20, 2016 - Page 18 News List

German teenager Zverev ends Federer’s title bid

Reuters

Germany’s Alexander Zverev returns to Roger Federer of Switzerland in their Gerry Weber Open semi-final in Halle, Germany, on Saturday.

Photo: AP

Roger Federer’s bid to win a ninth title in Halle, Germany, was ended in the Gerry Weber Open semi-finals on Saturday by teenage German Alexander Zverev, who earned the biggest scalp of his fledgling career in beating the 17-time Grand Slam champion 7-6 (7/4), 5-7, 6-3.

Holder Federer, on the comeback trail after back problems, was looking to reach the final of his traditional pre-Wimbledon tune-up in Germany for an unprecedented 11th time, but found the big-serving 19-year-old home favorite too formidable.

The Swiss world No. 3 had not lost to a teenager for nearly 10 years since Andy Murray beat him in Cincinnati in 2006, which highlights Zverev’s considerable potential.

Yet the defeat means the 34-year-old Federer will be going into Wimbledon, seeking his eighth title, in the rare position of not having won a tournament this season.

“I feel pretty good. It’s unbelievable to get a win against Roger, especially on grass,” Zverev said.

He had Halle’s second all-German final to look forward to yesterday against Florian Mayer, a surprise 6-3, 6-4 winner over another young gun, Austrian third seed Dominic Thiem.

“It’s nice with that kind of match going into Wimbledon and obviously into the final here as well,” Zverev said.

World No. 38 Zverev, who lost to Federer in their only previous meeting last month, dropped just four points on serve in the opening set, blasting 14 winners as he took the tiebreak 7-4.

Federer earned a break of serve at 5-5 with a beautiful drop-shot in the second set to restore parity, but Zverev, the son of a former Russian player with the same name, responded strongly to dethrone the reigning Halle champion.

The 32-year-old Mayer, now down to No. 192 in the rankings, cashed in on Thiem appearing a little weary after his recent heroics as he won in 66 minutes.

According to the ATP Tour, he is the lowest-ranked finalist since No. 240 Nicolas Mahut won in ‘s-Hertogenbosch, the Netherlands, three years ago.

AEGON CHAMPIONSHIPS

Reuters, LONDON

Andy Murray and Milos Raonic were to contest the Aegon Championship final at Queen’s Club in London yesterday in a match that was also due to feature a renewed battle between their respective “super coaches,” Ivan Lendl and John McEnroe.

Murray, the world No. 2 and top seed, beat Croatia’s Marin Cilic 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 in his semi-final to mark a successful start to his reformed partnership with Lendl, which began again last Monday.

Canadian third seed Raonic, who has just started employing the services of Lendl’s old rival McEnroe to help hone his grass-court game, then overpowered Australia’s Bernard Tomic 6-4, 6-4 in the pre-Wimbledon tournament.

“It’s not about who’s in the opposite corner,” said Murray, when asked about the intriguing match-up between the respective coaches Lendl and McEnroe, who played each other 36 times in one of the great tennis rivalries of the Open era. “John was obviously an unbelievable player and a great, great grass-court player, so I’m sure he’ll help Milos a lot, but I’m happy with my team and we’ll get ready for tomorrow.”

Should Murray win — he was leading Raonic 5-3 in career meetings and has won their past four — it would not only set him up perfectly for Wimbledon, but also earn him a record fifth title in the venerable Queen’s event.

“For sure, that’s a motivation,” he said. “There have been many great players who have won here over the years. Yesterday, there was a presentation on the court with McEnroe, [Lleyton] Hewitt, [Roy] Emerson and Boris [Becker, all four-time winners]. These are some of the best players of all time, so if I can do better than them, that’s obviously a good sign.”

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