STUTTGART, June 16, 2018
Roger Federer headlined Saturday’s semi-final action at the MercedesCup in Stuttgart. The top seed of the ATP 250 grass-court event fought past fourth favourite Nick Kyrgios 6-7(2), 6-2, 7-6(5).
Federer withstood 23 aces from the hard-hitting Australian, breaking his opponent two times. The 36-year-old, who returned to the courts from 11-week hiatus, stayed focused in the decisive moments of the final tie-break to eventually convert his first match point after highly entertaining 111 minutes.
Federer beats Kyrgios 6-7(2) 6-2 7-6(5) 👏
— Tennis TV (@TennisTV) 16. Juni 2018
“I’m very happy, very relieved. I thought it was a tough match [like] I expected against Nick. We’ve played so many breakers already, I’m losing count,” Federer said.“It was close. It could have gone either way, naturally. I protected my serve pretty well, I don’t remember saving any break points today. I’ve got another final, so it’s great news.”
— TennisTourTalk (@TennisTourTalk) 16. Juni 2018
This win is guaranteeing that Federer will return to the top of the ATP Rankings on Monday. “It feels great. I am very happy and thankful to my team. Getting there in a third set tie-break adds extra drama to it. I am very pleased that I stayed calm and played some good tennis at the very end,” Federer told during his post-match press conference.
Asked about his further schedule, Federer said: “I am playing next week, I am playing Wimbledon. After that we wil see about Canada. My season sort of starts from now. I hope that I can play a full season, a full schedule. I will just play what I can. The more I play, the more healthy I am, the more is possible. The last weeks have been very exciting and these matches, playing for World No. 1, do not come around that often.”
Raonic knocks out Pouille
Next up for Federer will be Milos Raonic. The No. 7 seed of Canada edged out defending champion Lucas Pouille 6-4, 7-6(3). Raonic fired 19 aces, saved the only break point he faced, converting one of his own to prevail after one hour and 34 minutes.
“I am happy with the positive progress I am making,” Raonic told after reaching his first final since Istanbul last year, his first in his last 16 tournaments. The 27-year-old also enjoyed the atmosphere at the Tennis Club Weissenhof.
“The people come out to support this tournament are very enthusiastic about tennis. They are very knowledgeable when it comes to tennis. You can see that they are very eager. They do not only come to the venue for a social event. They arrive many hours before the matches start, following the practice sessions.”
Asked about the ongoing FIFA World Cup and how the emotions are running amongst the players, Raonic stated: “It’s hard to tell here, as there are three locker rooms, it’s not like everyone is connected in one room. Especially on grass most guys trying to spend as much time as possible on court the first week. I am sure if there is a rain delay and you are stuck in the locker room, you are gonna hear a lot what’s going on in the World Cup. That’s for sure.”
Federer and Raonic will meet for the 14th time with the Swiss maestro leading 10-3 in their head-to-head records. Their last encounter took place at Wimbledon last year. Federer prevailed in three sets.
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