Federer blasts into Halle Open semifinals

Roger Federer  AFP photo

Roger Federer
AFP photo

HALLE, Germany: Five-time winner Roger Federer outclassed Germany’s Mischa Zverev 6-0, 6-0 in just 39 minutes on Friday to book his place in the semifinals of the Halle Open.

The world number three will now face Tommy Haas, who beat him in last year’s final, after the veteran German saw off France’s Gael Monfils 6-7 (4/7), 6-3, 6-3.

“You never go on to court aiming for such a score. I’m surprised to have managed it today,” said 31-year-old Federer, who earned just the second “double bagel” whitewash of his career.

His first was inflicted on Argentina’s Gaston Gaudio in the semifinals of the Shanghai indoor tournament on November 14, 2005.

In Halle, the Swiss was even more efficient than in his opening 6-3, 6-3 victory over another German qualifier, world number 166 Cedrik-Marcel Stebe, in 67 minutes.

“I expect a completely different opponent (in Haas) tomorrow (Saturday). (Having played just two hours over two matches) could be an advantage as well as a disadvantage,” said Federer.

“I see it as above all the opportunity to play for a place in the finals and then for the title.”
Federer, who has won a record 17 Grand Slams, is still out to win his first trophy of the season and now has 41 wins and just five defeats on the grass at Halle.

World number 11 Haas praised Federer, a rival and close friend for many years.
“He is one of the greatest of all time, perhaps the greatest,” said Haas.

France’s Richard Gasquet, the world number nine, went through to the semifinals with a 6-3, 7-6 (7/4) victory over German world number 33 Florian Mayer.

Gasquet will meet Russia’s Mikhail Youzhny who beat doubles partner Philipp Kohlschreiber of Germany, 6-3, 6-2.

The Frenchman’s victory was revenge after Mayer beat him in the Wimbledon quarterfinals last year.

“I played very well against an opponent who I know can be dangerous,” said Gasquet.

He won the first set with ease in 34 minutes but was forced to a tie-break in the second, eventually winning out with an ace.

His advance to the last four is the fourth time this year he has made a semifinals. He was beaten by Andy Murray in Madrid but won the other two on the way to titles in Doha and Montpellier.



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