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Roger Federer started perfectly and never looked back in the Gerry Weber Open final in Halle on Sunday, sprinting to a 6-1, 6-3 victory against #NextGenATP German Alexander Zverev under the roof in Gerry Weber Stadion.
The dominating title victory gives Federer his ninth Halle crown, joining him with Rafael Nadal as the only two men in the Open Era who have won a tournament more than eight times. Nadal has won 10 Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters, Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell and Roland Garros titles.
Federer improves to 4-0 in title matches this season, having won the Australian Open, the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells and the Miami Open presented by Itau. He and Nadal are now tied for the lead this season.
“It's great to get off to a good start in the finals and then remind yourself that you've been playing good tennis all week. You start swinging freely, things start clicking, you realise your opponent is under pressure and you keep pressuring him,” Federer said. “I'm like on 'Cloud Nine' right now after the ninth win here in Halle. It's a wonderful feeling to win here again because I'm not sure if I'll ever get a chance to win this again so it's important to enjoy this one.”
The 35-year-old Swiss also shoves aside any worries fans or pundits might have had about his long layoff affecting his grass-court season. The veteran right-hander took off 10 weeks after winning the Miami title on 2 April, opting to skip the clay-court season to rest his body and hopefully stave off any future possible injuries on clay.
After losing in his return on 14 June to friend Tommy Haas in Stuttgart, Federer checked off five consecutive victories, including wins against Zverev and rising #NextGenATP star Karen Khachanov, and heads to Wimbledon full of winning feelings. The Stuttgart defeat was the first time Federer had lost his opening match at a grass-court tournament since 2002 Wimbledon (l. to Ancic).
“I was doubting myself a little bit, I must admit, because losing [in the opening] round for the first time in 15 years on grass was always going to shake me a little bit and it did. So I'm happy to react right away and let that be forgotten and actually move on and remind myself I actually can play well on grass,” Federer said. “It's a boost for me personally, with my confidence, knowing that my body is in good shape. Mentally, I'm fresh again and I've gotten used to match play.”