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AFP
February 19, 2018
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Federer makes it to Rotterdam final

Sports

AFP
February 19, 2018

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ROTTERDAM: Roger Federer celebrated becoming the oldest man to reach the world number one ranking by making the Rotterdam Open final on Saturday with a 6-3, 7-6 (7/3) victory over Italy’s Andreas Seppi despite losing sleep watching early-morning coverage of the Winter Olympics.

The 36-year-old Federer racked up his 14th win from 15 matches with 33-year-old Seppi, the world number 81 who had enjoyed a memorable week in the Dutch port city by reaching the semi-finals as a ‘lucky loser’.

Top-seeded Federer will face Grigor Dimitrov in Sunday’s final. Dimitrov, the second seed, advanced to the semi-finals when Belgian opponent David Goffin was forced to retire after injuring his eye when the ball flew off his own racquet. Dimitrov was leading 6-3, 0-1 at the time.

Federer said that despite not getting much sleep due to the excitement of his latest achievement — and draining more energy by watching the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics in the pre-dawn hours — he expects to be fighting fit for his Sunday showdown which could result in a 97th career trophy.

The two-time Rotterdam champion, who guaranteed a return to the world top spot by seeing off Robin Haase in the quarter-finals on Friday, added that he will be ready to go for his first afternoon match of the week after playing the night showcase slots. “I’m good, it’s not been a tough week physically, maybe a bit harder emotionally,” he added. “I hope to play one more good match and that’s it for the week.”

Federer also dropped a big hint that he still might play the Dubai tournament, which begins a week from Monday.The seven-time winner of the Gulf tournament said that he will take a decision later in the week one way or the other. “It’s still open,” he said. Despite enjoying a 6-0 career stranglehold over Dimitrov, with their last meeting in the 2017 Wimbledon fourth round, the top seed will not take anything for granted on Sunday.

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