Roger Federer defeats Denis Kudla to reach Gerry Weber Open final in Halle

Roger Federer recorded his 20th consecutive grass-court victory by overcoming a stern examination from Denis Kudla to reach the Gerry Weber Open final.

The nine-time champion produced an indifferent display at times but found his best tennis at the pivotal moments to beat the American qualifier 7-6 [7-1] 7-5 to reach a 12th Halle final.

Federer, who won in Stuttgart last week, remains on track for back-to-back titles ahead of his Wimbledon defence next month after his 89-minute victory.

The world No 1 needs to retain his title to remain ahead of Rafael Nadal in the world rankings and made a promising start as early concerted pressure saw him break Kudla’s opening service game.

Kudla, world No 109, broke back immediately and both players then held serve without facing any further trouble to bring up a first set tiebreak which Federer dominated to take the initiative.

Federer showed signs of frustration during the opening stages of second set and received a code violation for ball abuse after missing a volley at the end of a lengthy exchange.

The 36-year-old saved two break points in the fourth game before raising his game to save a further three opportunities in the seventh game as Kudla’s consistency from the baseline frustrated Federer.

The Swiss great then converted on his only break point of the second set during a lengthy penultimate game of the match before closing out on serve to end Kudla’s brave resistance.

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June 24, 2018, 12:00pm

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