Sat, Jun 23, 2018 - Page 16 News List

Federer advances to quarter-finals

AFP, HALLE, Germany

Roger Federer returns to Benoit Paire in their Gerry Weber Open round-of-16 match on Thursday in Halle, Germany.

Photo: AP / Deutsche Presse-Agentur

World No. 1 Roger Federer on Thursday kept his quest for a 10th Gerry Weber Open grass-court title alive by saving two match points to defeat France’s Benoit Paire 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (9/7) and make the quarter-finals.

Federer was yesterday to face Australia’s world No. 60 Matthew Ebden, who defeated Germany’s Philipp Kohlschreiber 4-6, 6-1, 6-2, for a place in the semi-finals.

Federer’s preparations in the build-up to the defense of his Wimbledon title have been running smoothly, with a title last week in Stuttgart and a solid opening Halle win for the top seed.

However, it was a tough fight on Thursday, with the 36-year-old missing two match points in the final-set tiebreak and then saving two for Paire.

He finally won on his third match point when Paire returned long.

“You need to take the right decisions along the way,” Federer said of the tiebreaker. “It was always going to be tight. At the end it was extremely close. I was fortunate to have made it today.”

The victory in just under two hours left Federer with a perfect 6-0 record over Paire, who angrily slashed his racket across the grass in moments of desperation, drawing jeers from the crowd.

Had he lost, Federer would have surrendered the top ranking to Rafael Nadal at Wimbledon.

However, his escape act against Paire means he has now won 18 straight matches on his favored grass surface, a run of success dating back a year.

Federer is seeking a 99th career title this weekend and could possibly be playing for his 100th at Wimbledon next month, where he has won eight of his 20 Grand Slam trophies.

Ebden reached the semi-finals in the Netherlands last week, where he lost to Jeremy Chardy.

The Australian needed just more than 90 minutes to beat Kohlschreiber, the 2011 title winner in Halle. The Aussie fired seven aces while breaking four times.

In other second-round matches, Croatian Borna Coric beat Nikolaz Basilashvili 6-4, 6-2, while Italy’s Andreas Seppi put out former champion Florian Mayer of Germany 6-2, 6-4.

QUEEN’S CLUB

AP, LONDON

Novak Djokovic on Thursday eased past second seed Grigor Dimitrov at Queen’s Club with a 6-4, 6-1 win.

Former top-ranked Djokovic, who accepted a wildcard into the Wimbledon warmup tournament, had little trouble against the 2014 champion and advanced to the quarter-finals.

Djokovic won the last of his 12 Grand Slam trophies at the French Open in 2016 and has battled motivation and injury issues, but he looks confident ahead of next month’s Wimbledon.

Earlier, Nick Kyrgios sent down 32 aces as the Australian followed up his win over Andy Murray by beating seventh seed Kyle Edmund 7-6 (7/3), 6-7 (5/7), 6-3.

Kyrgios faced only one break point as he moved into the quarter-finals.

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