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Roger Federer had already scored three wins in Halle over Florian Mayer (2005, 2012, 2015) prior to their quarter-final on Friday. And in another Gerry Weber Open battle between the eight-time champion Federer and defending champion Mayer, it was the top seed who came out on top once again with a 6-3, 6-4 win.
“It was important to be aggressive off the baseline and make him feel my variation and the power I can bring to the court,” Federer said. “And then having good footwork, to see the short ball, the floater, where I can come in and knock it off with a volley. I think I did it very well. I had lots of chances to even go up a double break in the second set.
“I thought I was very calm out there, even in difficult moments. I was calm serving out the first and second sets. Those are always signs for me that things are slowly starting to fall into place nicely.”
Federer has yet to drop a set after three matches this week. He boosts his FedEx ATP Head2Head record against Mayer to 8-0, with five of those wins coming on grass. The top seed is through to the semi-finals in Halle for the 13th consecutive time, with his two quarter-final losses at this event coming in 2000-2001. The Swiss star also improves his Halle record to 57-6.
Next up for Federer is Karen Khachanov, who won an all-#NextGenATP battle earlier in the day over Andrey Rublev. Should he advance past Khachanov, a potential Halle rematch against fourth seed Alexander Zverev looms. Zverev defeated Federer last year in a three-set semi-final. However, the German will first need to get through seventh seed Roberto Bautista Agut in the quarter-finals and Richard Gasquet in the semi-finals.
“It will be interesting. He plays a bit different on the serve and the forehand, which is different to the regular forehand technique we see. He’s big and strong and seems super excited to be on tour and he’s working hard. I don’t know him that well yet so it’s a match where I’ll most likely focus on my own game. Make sure I serve well, because he can go through spells where he can serve big. It could be somewhat similar to how I played today.”
Federer scored the lone break of the opening set at 2-1. Muller fought off three set points on his serve at 2-5, but the top seed comfortably held to love in the next game with an ace.
The second set was nearly identical to the first, with a backhand wide from the German allowing the top seed to take a 3-2 lead. Mayer bravely fought off two match points on his serve at 3-5, but another forehand winner from Federer on his first match point wrapped up the contest in 66 minutes.
Federer finished the day with 11 aces, hitting 32 winners to 22 unforced errors. Mayer also produced a high level of tennis throughout the match, recording 18 winners to 15 unforced errors.