Roger Federer was denied his 9th title at the Gerry Weber Open in Halle by rising German star Alexander Zverev, who recorded the biggest win of his short tennis career on Saturday. The 19-year old Zverev played inspired tennis against the legendary Swiss before beating the world no.3 and eight-time winner at Halle. After losing the Nice Open final last month to Austria’s Dominic Thiem, it is only the second time that the young German has reached another ATP final. Now Sunday’s final in the German city will be an all-German affair because in the other semifinal, another German and world no.192 Florin Mayer defeated last week’s Mercedes Cup winner Dominic Thiem of Austria in straight sets. In the Aegon Championship at London’s Queen’s Club, Andy Murray reached the final by defeating Croatia’s Marin Cilic. Murray has reached an interesting threshold of registering his fifth title victory in the 126-year old tournament that hasn’t seen anyone winning the championship so many times. But the Scot has to beat Canada’s Milos Raonic in the final on Sunday to achieve that historic feat.
Roger Federer had a feisty opponent in his semifinal on Saturday. Until Zverev stopped him, Federer had never failed to reach the Gerry Weber Open final in his last ten appearances on trot. But the 19-year-old Zverev became the first teenager to defeat Federer in nearly 10 years after Andy Murray defeated the Swiss in the 2006 Cincinnati Open. Both players held their serves in the first set that went to the tiebreak. Then the German earned the set point with an ace and closed the first set. The second set was also equally fought but at 5-5 on Zverev’s service, Federer produced a masterly drop shot to get a break opportunity. Federer duly converted and won the second set 7-5. Inspired by his own play, Zverev broke Federer early in the decider to jump to a 4-2 lead. From there, he held all his serves and won the match 7-6, 5-7, 6-3 in 2 hours 6 minutes. Zverev ended with 39 winners that included 8 aces and saved six out of seven break points that he faced.
On Sunday in the all-German final, Zvrev will take on compatriot Florin Mayer who had a surprisingly easy 6-3, 6-4 victory over Austria’s Dominic Thiem in 66 minutes. Thiem looked tired and played far below his best. With his victory, Mayer secured his first final berth in an ATP World Tour event, after his maiden title win in Bucharest 5 years ago.
In the Aegon Championships at London’s Queen’s Club, Andy Murray is on the verge of creating history. In Saturday’s semifinal, the Scot defeated 2012 champion Marin Cilic of Croatia 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 to enter his fifth final. Murray has won every previous final that he had entered at Queen’s Club and if he could beat Canada’s Milos Raonic on Sunday, he will become the only player to have won the title five times in the tournament’s long history. In the game against Cilic, Murray began well to take the first set easily but the Croat broke Murray in the seventh game of the second set to obtain a decisive advantage that won him the set. In the decider, Murray responded by taking an early 4-1 lead and served very well to preclude any break opportunity for Cilic. Winning all his first-serve points, Murray finished the match with an ace for the 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 victory. In the other semifinal, Canadian Milos Raonic defeated Australia’s Bernard Tomic 6-4, 6-4 in just 62 minutes. It was a regulation match, in which Raonic broke Tomic once in the ninth game of the first set and served out for the set. In the second, the break came earlier. Raonic led 3-2 after breaking Tomic’s service and held all successive services to end as the winner.
Tennis fans are looking at the Murray-Raonic final as a proxy fight between old foes Ivan Lendl and John McEnroe. The legends played countless matches against each other in their heydays. Now while Lendl has become Murray’s coach, McEnroe is training Raonic for the grass season.