HALLE, Germany: Roger Federer moved to within a match of securing his first title of 2013 as he avenged his defeat in last year’s Halle final by beating veteran German Tommy Haas 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 in the semifinals.
Federer, 31 and ranked third in the world, will face Mikhail Youzhny in Sunday’s (Monday in Manila) final after the Russian beat French second seed Richard Gasquet 6-3, 6-2.
It will be Federer’s eighth Halle final having won the title five times at this pre-Wimbledon warm-up.
Federer said that it had been terrific to have such a hard match after his quarter-final which had seen him breeze through 6-0, 6-0 against Haas’s compatriot Mischa Zverev.
“It was a great match for me to play and to win. Tommy can play really well here and we saw it last year,” he said.
“Clearly I wasn’t sure how well I was really playing coming into the semis. Happily I was able to maintain a really high level of play.
“After losing the first set, there is not much margin for error anymore.
“I might be broken once by him and that could be it. He won most of the big points in the first set probably. Then in the second and third I was able to turn it around and win big points myself.
“So it is a big win for me and I think the quality of the game was extremely high.”
Federer was adamant that he was not a fading force as he sets his sights on an eighth Wimbledon title.
Federer, who came to Germany after being played off court by Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the French Open quarterfinals, has a perfect record against Youzhny.
The 17-times Grand Slam champion, who will be playing only his second final of the year, has won all nine encounters with Youzhny, including the semi-finals at Halle last year.