HALLE: Roger Federer reached the Halle grass-court final for the 10th time after beating giant Croatian Ivo Karlovic 7-6 (3), 7-6 (4) in Saturday’s (Sunday in Manila) semifinals.
The Swiss, who has won the title seven times, will go on to face Italy’s Andreas Seppi, who advanced at the expense of Kei Nishikori after the Japanese world number five retired injured when trailing 4-1 in the first set.
World number two and top seed Federer needed two tiebreaks to claim a 13th win in 14 meetings with Karlovic.
The Croatian, who stands 2.11m (6ft 11in) tall, had battered down 45 aces in his quarter-final victory against Czech Tomas Berdych on Friday but against Federer he managed a mere 21.
“It is always difficult to play against Ivo but the important thing was that I remained calm,” said Federer, who also recorded his 50th career win at the grass-court event.
“I was very lucky in the first set and so I’m all the more delighted to be in the final again.”
The only consolation for the 36-year-old Karlovic was that he did not lose serve all week in 48 games and ended the tournament on 114 aces.
Federer is chasing a 15th title on grass—and fourth overall in 2015 after Brisbane, Dubai and Istanbul—as he warms up for Wimbledon, which begins on June 29 and where he’s been champion on seven occasions.
Seppi, the world number 45 who last won a title in 2012, was in control of the first set of his match against Nishikori when the Japanese succumbed to a calf problem.
Seppi won his quarterfinal against Gael Monfils on Friday when the Frenchman retired injured in the second set after crashing into an advertising board beside the court.
Federer has only lost once in 12 previous meetings with Seppi, although that came in the third round of this year’s Australian Open.
“I played him many times. For some time, we also practiced quite often. I think he hits the ball very well on both sides, especially cross court and then he can go down the line,” said Federer of the Italian.