FedEx­press pick­ing up speed ahead of SW19

The Star Early Edition - - SPORT -

HALLE: World No 5 Roger Fed­erer de­liv­ered a mas­ter­class to beat ris­ing star Alexan­der Zverev 6-1, 6-3 and clinch a record ninth Halle Open ti­tle yes­ter­day as he lay down a marker in the lead-up to Wim­ble­don.

The 18-times Grand Slam cham­pion is in omi­nous form and won in Halle with­out drop­ping a sin­gle set all week.

“It has been a dif­fi­cult year with a lot of prac­tice, train­ing and re­hab, so I am very happy to be back on the court,” Fed­erer said.

“I do not know if I will ever win this tour­na­ment again, so I will en­joy this one,” said the Swiss, who has won eight Wim­ble­don ti­tles.

The 35-year-old, de­feated in his first come­back match in Stuttgart last week, took con­trol from the start with an early break and kept world No 12 Zverev on his toes.

He earned a sec­ond break point with some deft vol­ley­ing, which he pounced on to race through the first set in 24 min­utes.

Zverev, who beat the Swiss in last year’s semi­fi­nal and has al­ready won three ti­tles this year, had a chance to break at the start of the sec­ond set.

But he sim­ply could not dis­cover a chink in Fed­erer’s ar­mour, even as he at­tempted to mix up his game by forc­ing the Swiss to come to the net more of­ten.

A su­perb drop­shot put Fed­erer 5-2 ahead and sealed Zverev’s fate be­fore he won the match on his first match point with a cross­court vol­ley.

In do­ing so, he be­came the first player to beat both Zverev brothers at the same event, hav­ing de­feated older sib­ling Mis­cha in the round of 16.

Mean­while, Pe­tra Kvitova showed she will be a se­ri­ous con­tender at SW19 af­ter beat­ing Aus­tralian Ash­leigh Barty 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 to win the Ae­gon Clas­sic in Birm­ing­han, also yes­ter­day.

The Czech, a Wim­ble­don win­ner in 2011 and 2014, suf­fered a knife at­tack dur­ing a rob­bery at her home in De­cem­ber that left her with a dam­aged hand.

The 27-year-old looked un­trou­bled as she con­tin­ues to re­cover from the in­jury and looked back to her best with her ex­plo­sive serve of­ten too much for Barty, as she pro­duced 13 aces.

“I like to play fi­nals on grass. I wish I could have more – I won’t be sad if it is in a cou­ple of weeks (at Wim­ble­don) but there is still a lot of work to be done,” she said in her on­court in­ter­view.

“It was an amaz­ing week, an amaz­ing tour­na­ment. From my first hits on the grass I felt great, it was en­cour­ag­ing to get into the grass sea­son.

“I came to play, to im­prove my game, I didn’t re­ally have any ex­pec­ta­tion. I wanted to play my best which I showed to­day and I hope I can keep do­ing that,” she added. – Reuters

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