Roger Federer rolled into his 13th Halle semifinal with a 6-4, 6-4 victory over defending champion Florian Mayer on Friday.
“It was important to be aggressive off the baseline and make him feel my variation and the power I can bring to the court,” Federer said. “And then having good footwork, to see the short ball, the floater, where I can come in and knock it off with a volley. I think I did it very well. I had lots of chances to even go up a double break in the second set.
“I thought I was very calm out there, even in difficult moments. I was calm serving out the first and second sets. Those are always signs for me that things are slowly starting to fall into place nicely.”
Federer, who is seeking a ninth Halle title, now runs up against 21-year-old phenom Karen Khachanov after the Russian ousted his countryman Andrey Rublev 7-6(8), 4-6, 6-3.
“It will be interesting,” Federer said of Khachanov. “He plays a bit different on the serve and the forehand, which is different to the regular forehand technique we see. He’s big and strong and seems super excited to be on tour and he’s working hard. I don’t know him that well yet so it’s a match where I’ll most likely focus on my own game. Make sure I serve well, because he can go through spells where he can serve big. It could be somewhat similar to how I played today.”
Two more three setters were fought on the day. Alexander Zverev came back to beat Roberto Bautista Agut 6-7(6), 7-6(1), 6-1 and Richard Gasquet went the distance against Robin Haase in a 6-1, 3-6, 6-1 victory.
“I started being more aggressive and tried to go for shots more if you rally with him on the baseline especially on grass because the shots are so flat it’s very difficult,” said Zverev. “I just wanted to be more aggressive, try more things.
“It felt like I was better than him the whole second set. I had more chances than him on his serve. And I looked at the stats: I only lost three points on my serve in total in the second set. That was very important to feel very comfortable going into the tie-break.”
SATURDAY HALLE SCHEDULE
STADION start 1:05 pm
 R. Federer (SUI) vs K. Khachanov (RUS)
Not Before 4:00pm
 A. Zverev (GER) vs R. Gasquet (FRA)
After Suitable Rest – A. Zverev (GER) / M. Zverev (GER) vs  R. Klaasen (RSA) / R. Ram (USA)
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