Federer defeated Frenchman Pierre-Hugues Herbert 6-3, 6-3 to reach his 13th final in Halle, the most in the ATP 500 event’s history. The World No. 3 will face David Goffin in the championship match, an opportunity for the Swiss to claim his 10th title here. If Federer accomplishes the feat, it will be the first time he has lifted 10 trophies at a single tournament.
"It’s great. I thought it was a very solid performance from me," Federer said. "I didn’t struggle on serve and [when] I had my opportunities on the return, I was able to take them."
The 101-time tour-level titlist also has an opportunity to move closer to Jimmy Connors’ record of 109 tour-level trophies. If Federer emerges victorious against Goffin, it will be the 16th time he has claimed at least three tour-level crowns in a season.
Federer, now 67-7 in Halle, had to battle through two three-setters to make the last four. But playing Herbert for the first time, Federer broke serve three times and did not face a break point, winning 88 of his service points en route to a 62-minute triumph.
"I was able to find some good energy today, especially in the important moments, because the past couple days have been tough," Federer said. "It’s been a lot of tennis, so this is maybe exactly what I need going into the final."
Federer set the tone by breaking in his first return game of the match, and he never looked back from there. It is the first match this week in which the 37-year-old did not face break point.
Herbert, the No. 43 player in the ATP Rankings, typically plays the role of the aggressor, trying to move into net and use his strong volleying to take points into his own hands. But Federer used a dagger-like backhand slice at times to bring the Frenchman into the forecourt on the Swiss' terms, making it more comfortable for Federer and less so for Herbert.
The top seed takes a lopsided FedEx ATP Head2Head series lead of 7-1 into the final against Goffin, including a straight-sets victory here in Halle three years ago. In Federer’s seven victories against the Belgian, Goffin has won a total of one set. But the 28-year-old earned one of the biggest wins of his career by upsetting Federer in the semi-finals of the 2017 Nitto ATP Finals.
"He’s a great guy. I really like his game. He’s got one of the best backhand in the game. [He is] super fast on his feet and he’s got great footing on a court that’s really difficult," Federer said. "He played a great match against Berrettini today to stop his run and also against Zverev. I watched that match and that was mighty impressive. So I think I’m going to have a tough final, anyway at this stage, but particularly against David, who I have a lot of respect for."
Federer’s current record for most titles at a tournament is nine, having earned that many crowns at both Halle and Basel, his hometown event. The Swiss has advanced to 14 finals at that ATP 500 tournament.
Did You Know?
Herbert was Federer’s 337th unique singles opponent. Although they both have played more than 200 tour-level doubles matches, they have not competed against one another on the doubles court, either.