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Resurgent Roger Federer delighted to make Montreal final

Lack of practice sees Swiss admit he is surprised to be in showpiece

Image Credit: AFP
Roger Federer of Switzerland prepares to hit a return against Robin Haase of Netherlands during day nine of the Rogers Cup presented by National Bank at Uniprix Stadium on August 12, 2017 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
Gulf News

Montreal: Swiss superstar Roger Federer turned in a precision performance on Saturday at the ATP Montreal tennis, using thundering serves and clever backhands to defeat unseeded Robin Haase for a spot in the final.

The 36-year-old Federer blasted nine aces and lost just nine points on his serve as he extended his match win streak to 16 — his longest win streak in five years.

He raised his game to another level when it mattered most, beating Netherlands Robin Haase 6-3, 7-6 (7/5) in just 75 minutes.

“I’m very excited to be back in the finals,” Federer said. “A bit surprising, to be quite honest, because I hadn’t practiced much.”

Federer has taken more time off this year than usual. He skipped the clay-court season from April to mid-June.

“I came from vacation, did some fitness, saw how I was feeling and said, ‘You know what, I practiced so much the last year, let’s go play some matches.’

“It’s a big bonus right now and I hope I can play as free as I have so far in the finals tomorrow.”

Second seeded Federer will meet German Alexander Zverev in Sunday’s final where he will be seeking his sixth title of 2017.

The fourth seed advanced with a 6-4, 7-5 win over Canada’s Denis Shapovalov.

Federer owns a 2-1 edge against Zverev in head-to-head meetings, most recently a 6-1, 6-3 win at Halle in June.

Zverev ended Shapovalov’s magical week on his third match point when the 18-year-old, who had been the story of the tournament after a stunning run that included an upset win over world No. 2 Rafael Nadal, sent a backhand wide.

Federer is undergoing a resurgence this season after it appeared to many he might be slowing down as he transitions through his mid-30s.

“Confidence can get you a long way, and if you’re feeling fine physically and you are ready to fight mentally you have a lot of things in the bag,” said Federer, who would earn the second seed at the upcoming US Open if he wins in Montreal.

“And then the only thing that maybe is missing is practice, but sometimes practice is overrated. It’s all about the matches at some stage.

“I’m happy I’m playing as well as I am this year on the match courts. At the end that’s what matters because I spent hours and hours on the practice courts in the last year.”

The 19-time Grand Slam winner Federer is seeking his 27th Masters 1000 title and his third Canadian Masters crown after wins in 2004 and 2006.

Haase, who hit 17 winners, made a late charge and forced a second-set tiebreak before Federer stymied the challenge to win the match.

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