Six time champion Roger Federer of Switzerland earned himself a shot at his eighth title in Halle and also another chance to avenge a surprise third round loss in the Australian Open this year at the hands of the Italian Andreas Seppi as both players entered the final in contrasting fashion.
Federer, who has won three titlea this year in Brisbane (d. Raonic), Dubai (d. Djokovic) and the inaugural Istanbul Open (d. Cuevas), survived 20 aces from the Croat Ivo Karlovic and required two tie-breaks to advance in 1 hour and 28 minutes. The scoreline 7-6(3),7-6(4). In the first set tie-break Karlovic served his only double fault of the afternoon at set point and failed to convert the only break point in the second set.
Karlovic, who served a record 45 aces in a three set match against Tomas Berdych in the last eight took his tally to 114 aces in four matches in this tournament. Federer who has won both Halle and Wimbledon titles seven times, will get a chance to ads to his tally of 14 grass court titles, which is also a record. He also recorded his 50th win in Halle and improved his mark to 33-6 in 2015. It will be his 10th final appearance there with losses only to Hewitt in 2010 and to Tommy Haas in 2012.
Seppi advanced, when for the second time in consecutive matches his opponent retired. This time it was Japan’s Kei Nishikori who retired with a calf injury trailing 1-4, a day after the Frenchman Gael Monfils retired 1-6,0-1 in the quarter-final. While Federer has won 85 titles in his glittering career, Seppi has three titles. Federer also leads the career head to head 11-1 after he avenged his loss in Melbourne at Indian Wells this year. The Italian now has a 18-11 mark in 2015.
Prediction : Federer in two close sets.
Meanwhile at the other pre-Wimbledon warm up in Queen’s Club, London, the South African Kevin Anderson fired 34 aces against the Frenchman Giles Simon and overcame the loss of a second set tie-break, as he notched a 6-3,6-7(6), 6-3 win. Anderson never faced a break point in the entire match and converted on 2 of the 8 break point opportunities against the seventh seed from France. Anderson improved his mark to 25-13 for the year and earned himself a chance to win a third career title.
He will need to wait till tomorrow to see who he plays in the final as play was suspended at 3-3 in the first set with Victor Troicki of Serbia serving at 30-40 down against the top seeded Andy Murray of Scotland. Murray the winner in 2009, 2011 & 2013 has a 4-1 edge over Anderson while Troicki and Anderson are tied at 1-1 in career meetings. Murray has 33 career titles while Troicki has won two. Play resumes at 11AM local time with the final to start not before 2:25PM local time.
– Rasesh Mehta [Rasesh Mehta is an analyst with the Tennis Galaxy.You can reach him at the email: firstname.lastname@example.org]