Federer must win 10th Halle title to remain No. 1

HALLE (Germany) • Roger Federer extended his unbeaten run on grass to 20 matches by defeating Denis Kudla 7-6 (7-1), 7-5 in the Halle Open semi-finals yesterday, and insisted he can fine-tune his game further ahead of an assault towards a ninth Wimbledon title.

Playing his eighth match in less than two weeks, the Swiss, who must win a record-extending 10th title in Halle to remain at the top of the world rankings, seemed clearly fatigued.

But the 36-year-old showed great mental strength to save five break points in the second set. A lapse of concentration from Kudla in the 11th game allowed Federer to grab the only break point on offer before the latter served out the match in just under 90 minutes.

"It was important again in the important moments to take the right decisions," Federer said. "I'm playing a lot of matches right now, missing practice a little bit.

"I've got time to rest next week and to practise as well and to get really ready for Wimbledon."

The defending champion plays 34th-ranked Borna Coric in the final. The 21-year-old Croat advanced after Roberto Bautista Agut retired following an unfortunate slip in the semi-finals, with Coric serving at 2-3.

In London, Novak Djokovic reached his first title match in a year with a 7-6 (7-5), 6-4 win against Jeremy Chardy at the Queen's Club. He will play top seed Marin Cilic. It is the Serb's first final since he won the Eastbourne tournament 12 months ago.

REUTERS

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on June 24, 2018, with the headline 'Federer must win 10th Halle title to remain No. 1'. Print Edition | Subscribe