Born in 1981, Roger Federer and Feliciano Lopez have passed a long journey since their ATP debuts in 1998, staying on the Tour for more than 20 years and being able to play on a high level at the age of 37. Roger and Feliciano have played the most Grand Slam tournaments in history and they have written the records books again at Queen's and Halle, winning ATP 500 titles on grass on the same day to become the oldest duo with the ATP titles in the same week, just like they did in the same events two years ago.
Not thinking about retirement, Roger is ranked third in the world while Lopez also gained a massive boost after those 500 points won at Queen's, returning into the top-60 and deciding to stay on the Tour more than he planned.
Federer and Lopez are among seven players in the Open era with an ATP title after turning 37 and this is a reminder of their historic quest from two weeks ago, keeping the experienced veterans above their younger opponents.
World no. 3 Roger Federer has proved his greatness on grass once again, beating David Goffin 7-6, 6-1 in an hour and 23 minutes to lift the tenth crown in Halle and the 102nd overall on the Tour! Competing at one of his favorite tournaments for the 17th time, Roger advanced to the 13th final and went all the way to become the second player in the Open era with at least ten titles at single ATP event.
Playing on clay for the first time in three years, Roger had a great campaign in Paris, struggling a little bit to find the range in the first event on grass this year. Nonetheless, he did enough to reach the semis, ousting Pierre-Hugues Herbert on Saturday in 62 minutes and gathering the momentum ahead of Goffin's clash, beating the Belgian seven times in the first eight encounters.
Reaching the first ATP final in more than a year and a half, Goffin gave his best in the opening set when he served well and created three break points, not converting any and dropping the tie break 7-2. That was the turning point of the encounter and he had nothing left in the tank in set number two, getting broken thrice (five double faults) and allowing Roger to march towards the finish line.
Overall, it was a rock-solid performance from Federer, surviving that one loose service game and dominating in the rest of the clash, hitting 23 winners and 14 unforced errors in comparison to Goffin's 17-29 ratio. The Swiss was almost perfect at the net, keeping the points on his racquet and emerging at the top in that challenging opening set, never looking back in the quest for the tenth trophy in Halle, 19 years after making a debut at this event!
In what has been the tenth-oldest ATP final in the Open era, the 37-year-old Feliciano Lopez has extended his record for the oldest Queen's champion, beating Gilles Simon 6-2, 6-7, 7-6 in two hours and 49 minutes! Both veterans have struggled throughout the week and they give their best to set the title clash, battling from start to finish and giving the crowd at Queen's something to cheer about all the time.
World no. 113, Lopez needed a wild card to enter the main draw and used it with both hands, delivering the seventh ATP title and the first since this very same event two years ago. Feliciano has become the first Queen's champion with a wild card since Pete Sampras in 1999, having another final to play later with Andy Murray if he has safe anything in his body for the doubles encounter.
Also, Lopez is the seventh player in the Open era with an ATP title after turning 37 and the second-oldest winner on grass, with Roger Federer winning Halle just three hours earlier! The Spaniard had the upper hand in the first set and nothing could have separated them after that, staying neck and neck in sets two and three to bring the deciding tie break.
Feliciano hit 16 aces and many more service winners, fending off six out of seven break points to limit the damage in his games, creating 13 chances on the return and converting three, two of those in the opening set. Simon had more winners from the court and fewer number of unforced errors, taming his shots nicely and taking the same amount of points as Lopez in the last two sets, giving his everything to grab the first ATP title on grass.
Lopez drew first blood in the first game after a long rally and an unforced error from the Frenchman, breaking again with a great net coverage for a 5-1 advantage and a huge boost after less than 25 minutes. The Spaniard closed the set with a service winner in the eighth game, taking full control and hoping for more of the same in the rest of the encounter.
The second set kicked off with back-to-back breaks in games two and three, with both players serving well in the rest of the set to reach a tie break that Gilles grabbed 7-4 after a volley error from Lopez, sending the match into a decider and his fifth marathon match of the week.
They saved all ten break points in the final set (Simon seven, including a match point at 5-6) to deliver the deciding tie break that Lopez clinched 7-2 after two mini-breaks, celebrating the title that will push him into the top-60 again.