HALLE WESTFALEN, Germany (AFP) - Roger Federer said it was a "special" feeling to reach the final of the ATP event in Halle for a 13th time after beating Pierre-Hugues Herbert 6-3, 6-3 in Saturday's (June 22) semi-final.
Federer is chasing a record-extending tenth title at the pre-Wimbledon grass court event this year, having suffered a surprise defeat to Croatian Borna Coric in last year's final.
"It is very, very special. I am glad I got another chance this year, because last year I really didn't know if I would ever play another Halle final," he said.
World number 43 Herbert, 28, struggled in his first-ever meeting with 20-time major winner Federer, who is hoping to win a ninth Wimbledon title next month.
The straight-sets victory provided welcome respite for the Swiss star, who was forced to battle through gruelling three-set encounters with Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Roberto Bautista Agut earlier in the week.
"I feel in a similar situation to last year. I was perhaps more tired last year because I had played in Stuttgart the week before," said Federer.
"I hope I can call on that extra bit of energy, because I am going to need it tomorrow."
The 37-year-old Swiss will face David Goffin in the final, after the Belgian fought to victory over rising Italian star Matteo Berrettini earlier on Saturday.
"Goffin plays well from the back of the court, he plays aggressively and returns well," said Federer.
Goffin, 28, who knocked out home favourite and world number five Alexander Zverev in the last eight, beat Berrettini 7-6 (7/4), 6-3 to reach his first ATP Tour final since 2017.
"It's an amazing feeling. I have worked really hard in the last few months and it is paying off now," said Goffin.
The Belgian proved one challenge too many for in-form 23-year-old Berrettini, who has risen to 22 in the world rankings this season and claimed his second ATP title of the year on grass in Stuttgart last week.
Goffin has lost seven of his eight meetings with Federer in the past, beating him in three sets at the 2017 ATP Finals in London.
"We all know how good Roger is on grass. He is incredible, but I will try to be ready to beat him," said Goffin.
"Roger has had tough matches this week against Tsonga and Bautista Agut, but as soon as he has had to play his best tennis, he has done so."