Roger Federer is just one match away from what could be a record eighth title for him at the 2015 Gerry Weber Open in Halle. Facing him in the final on Sunday will be Andreas Seppi of Italy, who had shocked him in this year’s Australian Open. Later, however, Federer had taken his revenge on the Italian at Indian Wells Masters but the celebrated Swiss would like to be careful against the Italian at Halle. Federer’s path to the final was full of thorns as he played against the big-serving Croat, Ivo Karlovic in the semifinal on Saturday. The match was decided on two tiebreaks with Karlovic refusing to yield easily. The Croatian did not give a single break-point opportunity to the world no.2 but Federer played better in both tiebreaks. On the other hand, Seppi was lucky for the second match in a row as another opponent retired mid-match due to injury. The Italian had entered the semifinal, when Gael Monfils went out due to injury and his passage to final was facilitated by Kei Nishikori, who couldn’t continue after 5 games in the first set. In Queen’s Club’s Aegon Championship, Andy Murray and Viktor Troicki were locked 3-3 in the first set, when persistent rain interruption forced the match to be postponed to Sunday. That means, the suspended semifinal and final may be played on the same day unless the organizers think otherwise. In an earlier semifinal, South Africa’s Kevin Anderson powered his way into the final with a three-set victory over the gallant Frenchman Gilles Simon.
Federer had a tough man to deal with in Saturday’s semi-final game. But finally, the Swiss qualified for his 10th final in Halle with tiebreak superiority over Croatia’s Ivo Karlovic in both sets. Karlovic didn’t yield a single break chance in the entire match as he sent down 20 aces. But Federer was unfazed and waited patiently for his chances and stepped up when required. In the first set, the Croat surrendered just five points and Federer got his chance in the tiebreak, when he produced a superb passing shot. That advantage coupled with holding his serve gave Federer the lead in the tie-break and the set thereafter. In the second set, Federer faced a break against the Croat in the fourth game but Karlovic couldn’t capitalize and this set also went to tiebreak. Yet again, Federer dominated the play in the tiebreak and ended up winning the match 7-6, 7-6.
After he found a lucky victory to enter the semifinal, when Frenchman Gael Monfils couldn’t continue, Andreas Seppi struck his luck once again. This time his opponent was the irrepressible Kei Nishikori of Japan. The no.2 seed limped from the start and couldn’t continue beyond 5 games as Seppi went through to take on Roger Federer for the Halle title. While this could be the biggest achievement of his long tennis career, Seppi is not a grass specialist and that loads the dice in Federer’s favor.
At the Queen’s Club in London, Britain’s Andy Murray and Serbia’s Viktor Troicki couldn’t continue their semi-final match that was deferred until Sunday morning. At that time, the two players were level at 3-3. In the other semifinal played earlier, tall South African Kevin Anderson served devastatingly in getting past Gilles Simon of France 6-3, 6-7, 6-3 to enter the final. He will need to wait until Sunday to learn about his opponent in the final. The no.7 seed Simon watched haplessly as Anderson’s 34 aces flew by on the immaculately cultivated grass of the Queen’s Club. Regardless, Simon forced the decider by winning the second set on tiebreak. But other than his killing serve, Anderson displayed quality tennis in the third set and took the match away from the Frenchman with a series of precise groundstrokes.