ATP Halle: Roger Federer struggles but tops Matthew Ebden in straights


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ATP Halle: Roger Federer struggles but tops Matthew Ebden in straights

World number 1 and a nine-time Halle champion Roger Federer is through to the semi-final for the 14th straight time at one of his favorite tournaments after a hard-fought 7-6 7-5 win over Matthew Ebden from Australia in an hour and 28 minutes. Just like against Benoit Paire yesterday, Roger had to dig deep to earn the win, unable to find the rhythm on the return and trailing 5-3 in the second set before he climbed back to level the score and close the match with a late break for his 62nd win in 68 matches in Halle! Roger is now 24-2 in 2018 and this was his 171st ATP win on grass (the 19th straight since Halle last year), just three short of the Open era leader Jimmy Connors who scored 174.

It was a rock solid start of the match for Federer, losing four points on serve in the entire opening set but Ebden did well to stay in touch, saving a break point in game seven to reach a tie break that Roger won 7-2 with three mini-breaks.

Matthew saved three break points in game two of the second set and they traded breaks in games three and four, with another one for Ebden in game seven to gain a 4-3 lead. Roger didn't play well in those moments but he managed to pull the break back in the very last moment when the Aussie served for the set in game 10.

The momentum was on Federer's side now and he held at love in game 11, breaking Ebden serve again in the following game to rattle off the last four games and book his place in the semis where he would face a qualifier Denis Kudla.

World number 34 Borna Coric has shown his qualities numerous times on clay and hard courts over the last couple of years, but he came to Halle with just two ATP wins under his belt in nine matches, looking to improve that score in Halle and add more fuel to his engines before heading to Wimbledon.

It is so far so good for the young Croat in Germany after beating Andreas Seppi 7-5 6-3 in an hour and 24 minutes for the place in the semi-final, scoring more wins on the green surface this week than in the entire career before Halle! Three years ago at Wimbledon Seppi defeated an 18-year-old Borna at Wimbledon in five sets but he stood no chance today, winning just 12 points on the return in 10 games, never creating a break point.

On the other hand, the Croat was all over his rival and he forged eight break chances, converting three to safely bring the match home for his biggest result on grass and the second semi-final of the season after Indian Wells.

Coric hit 32 winners and just 18 unforced errors while Seppi stood on a 23-23 ratio, not enough to threaten such a strong rival. Borna was serving well right from the start of the match and he wasted a break point in game five when his volley landed long.

The Italian veteran came from 0-40 down in the seventh game to stay unbroken once again and he had a game point at 5-5 before Borna found the way to break him with a backhand cross court winner that allowed him to serve for the set.

A service winner got the job done for the youngster and this gave him the momentum to push even stronger in set number two where he lost just three points on serve! Andreas was nowhere near that pace and he wasted a game point to lose serve at the start of the set when his backhand landed long.

Servers were the dominant figures on the court in the following seven games and it was Borna who lost those three points in his games with three straight holds at love for Seppi! Still, the Italian served to stay in the match at 3-5 and he double faulted to give his serve away for the second time, sending Borna into the last four.

Quarter-final results:

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