Federer beats Khachanov to advance to his 11th Halle final
HALLE, Germany (AP) -- Roger Federer defeated Karen Khachanov 6-4, 7-6 (5) to advance to the final of the Gerry Weber Open for the 11th time on Saturday.
Federer will bid for his 92nd career title in what will be his 140th final against the fourth-seeded Alexander Zverev, who rallied to beat Richard Gasquet 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 for his seventh title-decider.
Zverev, Germany's top-ranked player at No. 12, fired 11 aces and converted four of eight break opportunities to win in under two hours. Zverev, who lost last year's final to compatriot Florian Mayer, will be going for his fourth title of the season on Sunday.
"He's the best of all time on this surface," Zverev said of facing Federer, whom he beat in the semifinals last year. "It will still be a very difficult match."
Chasing his ninth title at the grass-court tournament, Federer was serving for the match when he was broken by Khachanov. The Russian then missed two set points before Federer took it to the tiebreaker.
"It was all a little uncertain because I don't know him that well," said Federer, who rued uncharacteristic unforced errors. "It's warm, it's hot, I'm a little bit tired. It was a difficult match."
Federer saved four of the six break points he faced overall, while converting three of his five opportunities.
Federer had a busy start to the year including the capture of his 18th Grand Slam at the Australian Open. His decision to skip the clay-court season to recuperate appears to be paying off with a view to Wimbledon, where he is a seven-time champion.
"Everything has been geared toward that for the past 12 months and I'm happy with how I feel at the moment," Federer said before his match with Khachanov.