Former Wimbledon champs Federer and Kvitova safely through to semis in warm-ups
TOP seed Roger Federer reached the Halle Open semifinals yesterday, beating defending champion Florian Mayer 6-3 6-4 and edging closer to a ninth title at the Wimbledon tune-up event.
The 18- time grand slam champion, whose last title at Halle was in 2015, skipped the entire claycourt season after winning the Australian Open and claiming titles at Indian Wells and Miami this year, to prepare for grass.
He will now face rapidly rising talent Karen Khachanov, who won his all-Russian quarter-final against Andrey Rublev 7-6(8) 4-6 6-3 to reach his first tour semi-final of the year.
Federer, who has yet to drop a set in Halle after crashing out of Stuttgart in his first match back last week, limited his serve-and-volley game against the German, who is a fine returner and Mayer was broken quickly as his opponent won the first set.
The 33- year- old Mayer squandered two break points at 1-0 in the second set and paid the price as Federer broke again and never relinquished his advantage to win in just over an hour.
Frenchman Richard Gas- quet also reached the last four, edging past Dutchman Robin Haase, who had eliminated second seed Dominic Thiem in the previous round, 6-1 3-6 6-1 and looked to be hitting top grasscourt form at just the right time.
Gasquet will now play the winner of the last quarter-final between local favourite Alexander Zverev and Spaniard Roberto Bautista- Agut later yesterday. ● Czech Petra Kvitova
moved into the Aegon Classic semi-finals with a 6-4 7-6(5) win over France’s Kristina Mladenovic yesterday.
The seventh seed, twice Wimbledon champion, is playing in her second tournament after a lengthy layoff with a hand injury, suffered during a knife attack at her home in December.
“Both of us play really fast on this surface, the grass suits her game as well, so it was about a few points here in three, one or two key breaks in the match,” Kvitova said.
It took a second-set tiebreak and one hour 43 minutes for Kvitova to secure the win which sets up a semi-final clash with compatriot Lucie Safarova.
Safarova came through a marathon battle with Australian Daria Gavrilova, triumphing 6-7(4) 6-3 7-6(5).
Safarova saved three matchpoints in the deciding set and rallied to win the last four points of the third set tiebreak to end the three-hour contest on top.
“It was such an amazing fight between the both of us and I am so happy that I won,” Safarova said.
“I stayed positive until the end. I had a few opportunities but she was serving well. I just believed that I could pull it out and win it,” she added.
Later yesterday, Spain’s Garbine Muguruza took on American Coco Vandeweghe and Australian Ashleigh Barty faced Camila Giorgi of Italy. – Reuters