Roger Federer ran the Ivo Karlovic serve gauntlet and escaped with a narrow 7-6(3), 7-6(4) victory over the Croat.
“It comes down to a shot here or there,” said Federer. “We are both mentally prepared. We’ve played so many breakers against one another and I think he was better in the set in the first set, I was better in the breaker. I guess I deserved it because I stayed calm. And in the second set probably I was better throughout the set and he was maybe a bit better in the breaker. Maybe I got a little bit lucky in the breaker.
“So, it was a tough match. I knew that going in. I was struggling to read his serve in the first set, but handled it better in the second set. It was tough. It’s just a bit of a grind and physically it’s like easy, mentally rough.”
Karlovic, who had 45 aces in his quarterfinal, smacked 20 today against the Swiss.
After his 13th win in 14 tries over Karlovic, Federer will take on Andreas Seppi in the Halle final. The 7-time Halle champion lost to Seppi at the Australian Open earlier this year.
Seppi advanced to the final after Kei Nishikori retired down 1-4 in the first set after 14 minutes with a left calf injury. The Italian also received a retirement from in his quarterfinal from Gael Monfils.
“I felt it yesterday during the match and I fought through yesterday,” Nishikori said. “But today was a little pain this morning and I tried in the match, but couldn’t really move. So, I, especially with these guys, with the injury it’s never easy to win. And I don’t want to take a big risk for Wimbledon. So, I just retired from the match today.
“I cannot say much because I have to see how it will be the next couple of days,” he said looking ahead to Wimbledon. “I really will have to see how the pain goes. But I’m sure it’s going to be okay. It’s no big deal.”
Federer seeks his 4th title of the season. 86th overall in this his 130th career ATP final. He is 11-1 against Seppi.
“I played him many times,” Federer said. “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. I think that’s what makes him a tough player. I think fitness-wise he’s very fit, you know, he won’t go away. He doesn’t have the best second serve but I think he has improved that over time. And because he hits the ball quite flat it actually helps him on the grass.”
In a rainy Queen’s Club, Kevin Anderson took out Gilles Simon in three sets 6-3, 6-7(6), 6-3 to reach one of his biggest career finals, and just his second at the 500 level.
“I definitely felt I have been serving great this week,” said Anderson. “I am working hard on my serve always. I generally am serving pretty well. I think I have definitely been able to feel like maybe at a higher level this week.
“I think at this point it’s more just about the rhythm and the way it feels. I really feel it’s been clicking the last few matches. You know, it’s not something that a coach or somebody can maybe look at and see any difference from where I was serving two weeks ago. But just the way it feels, even though it feels the same, obviously the rhythm must be quite good right now.”
Anderson’s will have to wait a little longer to find out his opponent Sunday. The semifinal between Andy Murray and Viktor Troicki was halted at 3-3 due to rain. Troicki had just taken a fall injuring his shoulder just before the rain hit. The match resume resume on Sunday.
Murray has won the Queen’s title three times.
In Birmingham, Karolina Pliskova will take on Angelique Kerber in that final. If Pliskova, who beat Kristina Mladenovic in the semifinals, win she will enter the Top 10, joining countrywomen Petra Kvitova and Lucie Safarova.
“I think my game is good on grass. I don’t know why I didn’t have any good results before this,” Pliskova said. “I’m happy it’s coming now. For me it’s really important to play like this, especially ahead of Wimbledon. Hopefully I can have some good results there as well.”
Kerber advanced with a 6-3, 6-3 win over Sabine Lisicki. She is now 6-0 against her German counterpart.
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