Roger Federer defeats Matthew Ebden at Gerry Weber Open to reach semi-finals in Halle

Roger Federer remained on course for a 99th career title with a hard-fought victory against Matthew Ebden to reach the Gerry Weber Open semi-finals.

The defending champion needs to retain his title to stay at the summit of the men’s game and after saving two match points against Benoit Paire on Thursday was pushed once again by his Australian opponent.

Federer, targeting a record-extending 10th victory in Halle, began his grass-court campaign with a maiden title in Stuttgart last week and extended his unbeaten winning streak on the surface to 19 matches with a 7-6 [7-2] 7-5 win.

The 20-time Grand Slam champion was unable to convert on the only break point of the first set, in the seventh game, but was the dominant force in the tiebreak to take the initiative in the encounter.

Both players traded early breaks of serve in the second set before Ebden broke the world No 1 for a second time but was unable to serve out at 5-4, as Federer hit three backhand winners in the game.

In front of a packed crowd under the roof in Germany, Federer finished with a flourish to break Ebden for a third time in the match and secure progress.

Federer will next face Denis Kudla after the unseeded American reached only his second ATP World Tour semi-final with a 6-2 7-5 victory against Yuichi Sugita, who had knocked out Dominic Thiem in the previous round.

The qualifier, world No 109, broke his Japanese opponent twice in the first set to take the initiative in the contest before he recovered from a 5-2 second set deficit and saved a set point to close out the match in one hour and 23 minutes.

We are in Germany for the Gerry Weber Open in Halle, live on Sky Sports Arena this weekend.

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