Federer Edges Karlovic To Reach Halle Final
Roger Federer notches his 50th Halle win to reach the final.
Roger Federer will play for his eighth GERRY WEBER OPEN title after withstanding 20 aces to edge Ivo Karlovic 7-6(3), 7-6(4) Saturday in Halle.
The top seed owns the most grass-court titles in the Open Era and will look for his 15th crown on the lawns when he faces Andreas Seppi in Sunday’s final at this newly reclassified ATP World Tour 500 tournament.
Federer bided his time and was rewarded as he took his few opportunities to beat Karlovic in 88 minutes, improving to a 13-1 standing in their FedEx ATP Head2Head. The Swiss won just five points on Karlovic’s serve in the first set, but nailed a backhand passing shot on a second serve return in the seventh point of the tie-break and reeled off the final four points of the set.
Federer saved the only break point of the match in the fourth game of the second set as the match inevitably progressed to another tie-break. The Basel native squandered his initial mini-break advantage, but reclaimed the lead at 5-4 as Karlovic netted a backhand volley and did not lose another point.
"It comes down to a shot here or there," said Federer. "We are both mentally prepared. We’ve played so many breakers against one another and I think he was better in the set in the first set, I was better in the breaker. I guess I deserved it because I stayed calm. And in the second set probably I was better throughout the set and he was maybe a bit better in the breaker. Maybe I got a little bit lucky in the breaker.
“So, it was a tough match. I knew that going in. I was struggling to read his serve in the first set, but handled it better in the second set. It was tough. It’s just a bit of a grind and physically it’s like easy, mentally rough.”
Karlovic’s 20 aces took his tally for the week to 114; he hit an ATP World Tour (best-of-three) record 45 aces in his quarter-final win over Tomas Berdych. The 36-year-old Croat did not lose serve all week in 48 games.
It is the seventh time in his career that Federer has registered 50 match wins at a tour-level event. The 33 year old is through to his 10th final in Halle, with his only defeats coming in 2012 against Tommy Haas and 2010 against Lleyton Hewitt.
Federer has a 33-6 match record on the season and is chasing his fourth title of the campaign to add to trophies in Brisbane (d. Raonic), Dubai (d. Djokovic) and Istanbul (d. Cuevas).
Seppi advanced to the final after Kei Nishikori retired down 1-4 in the first set after 14 minutes due to a calf injury.
“I felt it yesterday during the match and I fought through yesterday, but today [there] was a little pain this morning and I tried in the match, but I couldn’t really move,” said Nishikori. “It just came suddenly yesterday. So there is nothing I could do and it’s very unfortunate.”
The Swiss leads his FedEx ATP Head2Head series with Seppi 11-1. The Italian's lone win against Federer came in January when he won in four sets in the third round of the Australian Open.
Into his eighth ATP World Tour final, the 31-year-old World No. 45 looks to add to his three tour-level titles: Moscow (2012), Belgrade (2012) and Eastbourne (2011).