Halle Open: Clinical Roger Federer beats Denis Kudla to enter final

Roger Federer

Roger Federer

Roger Federer extended his grass-court winning streak to 20 matches as he beat Denis Kudla in straight sets to reach the final of the Halle Open.

Federer, who must win a record-extending 10th title in Halle to remain at the top of the world rankings, dropped a set for the first time in six meetings against the erratic Frenchman as the pair fought out a gripping two-hour duel.

Paire rallied after losing the first set to take the second, and the Frenchman defended two match points at 6-5 in the decider to force a tiebreaker.

Federer will face Australia's world number 60 Matthew Ebden, who defeated Germany's Philipp Kohlschreiber 4-6, 6-1, 6-2, for a place in the semi-finals.

He will next play United States qualifier Denis Kudla who beat Yuichi Sugita 6-2, 7-5.

Federer, who won his 18th grass-court title in Stuttgart on Sunday, is just three match wins away from matching Jimmy Connors' all-time record of 174 victories on grass.

During the eighth game of the opening set, Federer was visibly unhappy for conceding a point on Kudla's service as he appeared disenchanted with his effort (see the video below). "I think Ebden played a good match and I'm happy I got through somehow".

Federer has won all his seven previous matches against Bautista Agut and holds a 2-0 head-to-head advantage over Coric.

The American was another straight-sets victor, dispatching of Yuichi Sugita - who had knocked out French Open finalist Dominic Thiem in round two - 6-2 7-5.

"I'm actually very happy, you know, it's not easy to play here", Federer said.

Now Federer is having to work to win at Halle, the German replica venue which mimics the All England club, and then make his final preparation at Wimbledon itself before that tournament starts on July 2.

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