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Federer Battles Through; Fognini Keeps Up Winning Run

Hamburg, Germany

Federer© Hamburg sports & entertainment GmbHRoger Federer is bidding to win the Hamburg title for the fifth time.

Roger Federer will face qualifier Federico Delbonis in the semi-finals of the bet-at-home Open - German Tennis Championships after overcoming a stern test from Florian Mayer in Friday’s quarter-finals.

Federer had never previously lost a set to Mayer in their four meetings, but found himself repeatedly pegged back by the dogged German before prevailing 7-6(4), 3-6, 7-5 in just under two hours. The Swiss twice squandered a break advantage in the third set before breaking decisively in the 11th game.

“It was extremely difficult,” said Federer. “I started really well. I thought we were both hitting the ball well in the first set and not giving each other that many chances. It went down to the wire. I'm happy I played a good tie-break. I should have been up early with a break in the second set; he got me there. It was a bit of a rollercoaster till the very end of the match. Just had to tough it out.

"The conditions were cold and heavy, the clay was heavy. So, it was different than we had expected at the beginning of the day when we thought we would play at 5:15pm. I have to say that I really enjoyed the match. It was a tough match and Florian fought hard."

Federer has never played the No. 114-ranked Delbonis before. He is bidding to reach his third ATP World Tour final of the season, having won his 77th tour-level title at the Gerry Weber Open in Halle (d. Youzhny) and finished runner-up at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome (l. to Nadal).

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The 31-year-old Federer is a four-time former champion in Hamburg, formerly an ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournament, lifting the trophy in 2002, 2004-05 and 2007.  

Fabio Fognini defeated Tommy Haas in the quarter-finals of an ATP World Tour event for the second week in a row. The Italian topped Haas 6-2, 6-4 in 82 minutes to reach the semi-finals.

Last week, Fognini had beaten Haas in their first FedEx ATP Head2Head meeting in the Stuttgart quarter-finals en route to winning his first ATP World Tour title (d. Kohlschreiber). The 26 year old is on an eight-match winning streak and will look to reach his fourth ATP World Tour final when he faces third seed Nicolas Almagro in Saturday's semi-finals.

"I'm really feeling confident,” said Fognini. “I played another solid match. Against Tommy it's never easy, but I'm happy because it's my second semi-final at an [ATP World Tour] 500 this year. My game is working really well at the moment, so physically and mentally I'm feeling really good."

Fognini will play Almagro for the first time in four years and trails their FedEx ATP Head2Head series 1-3.

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