HALLE – Swiss star Roger Federer moved to within a match of securing his first title of the year as he avenged his defeat in last year’s Halle final by beating veteran German Tommy Haas 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 in the semi-finals of this year’s renewal on Saturday.
Federer, 31 and ranked third in the world, will face either second seed Richard Gasquet of France or experienced Russian Mikhail Youzhny in Sunday’s final, which will be his eighth at the tournament where he has won five times.
Haas, four years Federer’s senior but who is enjoying something of a renaissance on court in his old age, won the first set in just over half-an-hour profiting from 10 unforced errors by Federer.
Federer, though, hit back early in the second set, breaking Haas in the second game and while the German saved two more break points at 5-2 down, Federer easily served out for the set in the following game.
It was a similar story in the deciding set as Haas contributed to his own downfall serving two successive double faults allowing Federer to go 2-1 up, an advantage he never let slip as he wrapped up victory on his second match point.
Federer, who came here after being played off court by Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the French Open quarter-finals, has good records against both Youzhny and Gasquet.
The 17-times Grand Slam champion, who will be playing only his second final of the year, has lost just twice in 12 meetings with Gasquet, never on grass, and won all nine encounters with Youzhny, including the semi-finals at Halle last year.