HALLE (SAALE), Germany (AFP) - Roger Federer reached the Halle grass-court final for the 10th time after beating giant Croatian Ivo Karlovic 7-6 (7/3), 7-6 (7/4) in Saturday's semi-finals.
The Swiss, who has won the title seven times, will go on to face Italy's Andreas Seppi, who advanced at the expense of Kei Nishikori after the Japanese world number five retired injured when trailing 4-1 in the first set.
World No. 2 and top seed Federer needed two tie-breaks to claim a 13th win in 14 meetings with Karlovic.
The Croat, who stands 2.11m tall, had battered down 45 aces in his quarter-final victory against Czech Tomas Berdych on Friday, but against Federer he managed a mere 21.
"It is always difficult to play against Ivo but the important thing was that I remained calm," Federer said.
"I was very lucky in the first set and so I'm all the more delighted to be in the final again."
Federer is chasing a 15th title on grass as he warms up for Wimbledon, which begins on June 29.
Seppi, the world No. 45 who last won a title in 2012, was in control of the first set of his match against Nishikori when the Japanese succumbed to an apparent calf problem.
He won his quarter-final against Gael Monfils on Friday when the Frenchman retired injured in the second set after crashing into an advertising board beside the court.
Federer has only lost once in 12 previous meetings with Seppi, although that came in the third round of this year's Australian Open.
"I played him many times. For some time, we also practiced quite often. I think he hits the ball very well on both sides, especially cross court and then he can go down the line," said Federer of the Italian.
"I think that's what makes him a tough player. I think fitness-wise he's very fit, you know, he won't go away.
"He doesn't have the best second serve but I think he has improved that over time. And because he hits the ball quite flat it actually helps him on the grass."