World number 1 Roger Federer had to work hard on Saturday in order to reach his 12th final in Halle, beating Denis Kudla 7-6 7-5 for his 149th ATP final and the 27th of the ATP 500 series, passing Rafael Nadal who stayed on 26.
These two tennis giants are leveled on 20 ATP 500 series titles and Federer will have a chance to move in front once again (Rafa caught him after winning Barcelona) if he beats Borna Coric on Sunday. The Swiss had reached his first ATP 500 final in Rotterdam in 2001 at the age of 19 and he played it again 17 years later in February this year, winning the title to become world number 1 for the first time since 2012! In the last 18 seasons, Roger has failed to reach the final of at least one ATP 500 tournament only in 2008 and 2016, and 17 of those 27 finals came in Dubai or Basel where he had the most success at this category.
In addition, Roger has been unbeaten in the last eight ATP 500 finals starting from Dubai 2014 and he will do his best to extend the streak against Coric and add the 10th Halle trophy to his collection (Halle became a part of ATP 500 series in 2015 and Roger played in three out of last four finals there, losing to Alexander Zverev in 2016 semi-final). The last time Roger lost the final of the ATP 500 series was in Basel 2013 when Juan Martin del Potro toppled him in three sets and the Argentinian had beaten him in the title match a year earlier as well, this time in the third set tie break.
After Dubai 2011, those are the only ATP 500 finals that Roger had lost and he will be the favorite against Borna to improve his score in the finals of this level to 21-6 and move away from Rafael Nadal who stands on 20 titles from 26 finals.
List of players with the most ATP 500 finals (since 1990):
Roger Federer's 27 ATP 500 finals: