STUTTGART, June 10, 2016
Roger Federer advanced to the semi-finals of the Mercedes Cup, winning 7-6, 7-6 against German qualifier Florian Mayer. On another sunny day in Stuttgart, stands were packed to watch the tournament’s top-seed having another battle on centre court.
Federer had to go the distance in his opening match against Taylor Fritz on Thursday and had to fight hard against the German again. Both players saved five of the six break points they faced, Federer three of them on set point against him in the 12th game of the second frame. The world number three, however, was rock solid during the tie-breaks, winning 7-2, 7-1 in one hour and 25 minutes.
“The feeling was better today. The serve was more consistent and I played two really good tie-breakers. I am very pleased, as it was a step up from the last match,” Federer told afterwards, being in good shape again.
“I felt surprisingly good when I woke up this morning. The only thing I really feel is around the shoulder area while serving.”
Federer passed Hall-of-Famer Ivan Lendl, moving into the second place in the Open Era with 1,072 victories.
“It is not important for me but a nice feeling of course. I am happy that I am still able to play tennis at the age of 34. After the injury, I hope that I can return to the tour in a successful way and able to enjoy some good time on the tour.
Lendl and Connors were players out of reach for me. I only saw them playing when I was a little. Unfortunately, I couldn’t play against them but they were unbelievably successful. Getting to a similar level is a nice feeling for sure!”
Federer will next take on Dominic Thiem, who advanced to the stage of the final four, battling past Mikhail Youzhny 3-6, 6-4, 7-5. The 22-year-old Austrian sent down 11 aces, winning 86% of his first service point to seal victory in one hour and 50 minutes.
“This has been my best win on grass so far. It was a tight match against a very good and experienced grass court player. I was close to lose with facing break points in the second and third set at 5-5 but I am very happy with my fighting spirit today and obviously with the win,” the third seed told afterwards.
“Mikhail serves well, hitting flat shots from the baseline and he just knows where to put the balls. I think that he is one of the active players with the most victories on this surface. This win really means a lot to me to,” Thiem was pleased and is looking forward to a third tour meeting with Federer.
“It’s not nice to face Roger on any surface, but in particular on grass he is the best ever. I have no expectations of the match.”
Thiem beat Federer on clay in Rome but the Swiss struggled with an injury back then. Thiem has reached the stage of the final four for the first time on grass. It will be his eighth semi-final of the season.
“On clay I am really confident against any player. That is my surface. I didn’t expect to reach the semi-finals here on grass. Everything coming up now is a bonus.”