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Watch highlights as Roger Federer and Sascha Zverev win on Friday. Watch live tennis at tennistv.com. Photo: ATP/Peter Staples

Federer Edges Goffin In Halle QFs

Swiss overcomes late rally from Belgian

Top seed and eight-time champion Roger Federer is one match away from reaching the Gerry Weber Open final for the 11th time after he defeated fifth seed David Goffin 6-1, 7-6(10) in 81 minutes on Friday. The Swiss broke back with Goffin serving for the second set and secured the win on his fifth match point. 

“I thought it was my best match thus far,” Federer said. “It is a good win for me and I’m clearly very happy to be in the semis."

The Swiss will compete against Alexander Zverev in Saturday's semi-finals. The #NextGen star saw off Marcos Baghdatis 7-6(9), 6-3.

“I thought Zverev played well. He played a crucial huge first set," Federer said. "Marcos should have won that but ended up losing it, the momentum goes Zverev’s way, one break and the match is over. So, credit to Zverev for getting the job done. He’s got a big serve, he’s got a nice backhand, he’s improving his forehand and he’s moving forward. He’s going to be a tough player in the future, no doubt about it.”

Federer won their lone FedEx ATP Head2Head meeting 6-3, 7-5 at last month's Internazionali BNL d'Italia. The World No. 3 had only played 18 matches in 2016 heading into Halle due to knee and back injuries and is looking for his first title of the year. He lost in the final of Brisbane to Milos Raonic in his first event of the season and was a semi-finalist at the Australian Open (l. to Djokovic) and at Stuttgart last week (l. to Thiem), losing to the eventual champion on both occasions.

Federer took a 3-0 lead against Goffin in the 21-minute first set, which included five breaks of serve. The pair exchanged service breaks midway through the second set, prior to Goffin breaking Federer to 15 for a 5-4 lead. Goffin failed to convert one set point when serving at 5-4, 40/30 and four more in the second-set tie-break. It was Federer's 29th straight win against Belgian opponents.

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Zverev recorded his 26th match win in a career-best year to knock out 2007 runner-up Baghdatis in just over 90 minutes. Zverev saved five set points at 3/6, 6/7 and 8/9 in the first set tie-break.

“For me it doesn’t really matter what surface it is,” the German said. “It depends more on me, how I play, how I feel. I've played well on all four surfaces. I’ve played well on clay, I’ve played well on hard at the beginning of the year. So, I can’t really say there’s a surface I don’t like or anything like that.

“I always enjoy playing at home. It’s that simple. I always enjoy having the crowd behind me, I always enjoy playing in front of a big crowd. So, for me it’s always quite nice to play here and to play in Hamburg obviously as well. So, I really love both of these tournaments.”

Third seed Dominic Thiem advanced to the semi-finals without hitting a ball when 2011 titlist Philipp Kohlschreiber, the eighth seed, withdrew prior to the match due to a left hip strain. The pair had contested the BMW Open by FWU AG and Mercedes Cup finals this year.

SEMI-FINAL PREVIEW: Alexander Zverev was a year old when Roger Federer debuted on the ATP World Tour. On Saturday, Zverev gets the chance to defeat Federer for the biggest win of his blossoming career and advance to the Gerry Weber Open final. Zverev leads the ATP’s ‘Next Generation’ of Top 200 players born after 1994 with 26 victories this season. He saved five set points in the first set of his quarter-final win over Marcos Baghdatis on Friday.

Likewise, Federer saved five set points in the second set to defeat David Goffin in the quarter-finals. The eight-time champion has reached the Halle semi-finals in 12 straight appearances and would reach his 11th consecutive final at the event by beating Zverev for the second time this season. Federer eliminated Zverev in Rome last month and is on a 13-match winning streak against German opponents since falling to Daniel Brands at Gstaad in 2013.

In the second semi-final, red-hot Austrian Dominic Thiem takes on resurgent German Florian Mayer. The 32-year-old Mayer was 0-5 in Halle quarter-finals before beating 2015 finalist Andreas Seppi on Friday. Recovered from an adductor tear, Mayer seeks his first ATP World Tour final since winning his lone title at Bucharest in 2011. Thiem, however, is 15-1 since May 18 and bidding for his sixth final appearance in less than six months of the 2016 season.

Zverev and Mayer are attempting to become the second pair of Germans to meet for the Gerry Weber Open title after Philipp Kohlschreiber defeated Philipp Petzschner in the 2011 final.

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