Roger Federer booked his 12th career final at the ATP Halle grass tournament on Saturday, beating qualifier Denis Kudla 7-6 (7/1), 7-5.
The Swiss needs to win the title on Sunday–it would be his tenth at the event–to remain world number one heading into Wimbledon.
He will face Croatian BornaCoric, who advanced 2 – 3 when Spanish fourth seed Roberto Bautista Agut had to retire after slipping on the grass and injuring himself.
Federer’s win over Kudla was his 20 th in a row on grass, dating to June, 2017. He sat out the clay court season and began on grass last week with a title at Stuttgart.
“I’m very happy, I’ve never played back- to-back finals on grass in the Wimbledon run – up,” Federer said. “This is a first for me.”
Federer is back in a familiar spot in Halle, which models its Centre Court after its namesake at the All England club, as he works to fine -tune with a Wimbledon title defence starting a week from Monday.
“I was happy to win Stuttgart and happy to make another final here. My comeback (after skipping the clay) has been rather successful.”
“I hope I can find my best game. I’ve said you usually start playing your best towards the end of a tournament, so hopefully I’m gonna have a good final.”
Federer needed just under 90 minutes to get the job done and hold off the 109th -ranked Kudla, who had not lost a set going into the semi-final.
Taming Kudla was no easy task, with Federer losing a break after taking an early 2-0 lead.
The first set went into a tiebreaker where the 20 – time Grand Slam winner was able to step his game up a gear, racing to 6 -0 in the decider and taking it two points later with his seventh ace.