Federer impressive over Nishikori, Dimitrov tops Wawrinka in Wimbledon warmup semis
Defending champion Roger Federer will bid for a seventh Halle title at the ATP Gerry Weber Open on Sunday after beating Japan’s Kei Nishikori 6-3, 7-6 (7/4) in the semi-final of the grasscourt tournament.
Swiss Federer, ranked fourth in the world, will meet 69th-ranked Alejandro Falla in the title match after the Colombian earlier upset Germany’s Philipp Kohlschreiber in the first semi-final.
Kohlschreiber, the 2011 winner, fell 5-7, 7-6 (7/5), 6-4 to the 30-year-old South American.
Federer, 32, kicked off his grasscourt campaign in Halle as he bids for a boost ahead of his latest assault on Wimbledon where he has been champion on seven occasions.
Halle was the site of his only title in 2013.
For Falla, it will be his second career ATP final, after losing to Ivo Karlovic of Croatia last year in Bogota, in only his second appearance at Halle after losing to Federer in the 2010 first round.
Kohlschreiber, ranked world 27 and the 2011 champion, was feeling the effects of his quarter-final clash on Friday when he was taken to three sets by compatriot Dustin Brown before prevailing 18-16 in the third set tie-break.
Brown had shocked world No 1 Rafael Nadal in straight sets in the second round.
Meanwhile Bulgarian fourth seed Grigor Dimitrov booked a Queen’s Club final clash against Feliciano Lopez with an impressive 6-2, 6-4 win over world No 3 Stan Wawrinka.
Dimitrov is one of the emerging talents in the men’s game and he underlined his growing reputation by overpowering top seed Wawrinka in just 61 minutes at the Wimbledon warm-up in west London.
The world No 13 can now look forward to his third ATP Tour final this season on Sunday against Spanish 10th seed Lopez, who defeated Czech veteran Radek Stepanek 7-6 (9/7), 6-4 in the other semi-final.
And if the 23-year-old lifts the trophy, it will go some way to silencing the critics who claim he should have fulfilled his potential by now.
It’s tough to define the word ‘breakthrough’,” Dimitrov said. “Of course, you would want to be more consistent. I think that’s more my word for it.
“Sometimes people make a big deal out of the breakthrough. To me, it’s just a stage that you’ve got to go through.
“Some people find it very easy and acclimate themself pretty fast to the atmosphere and to the stage. Others it just takes time. Everyone is different.”
Dimitrov is already the youngest player in the world’s top 20, having broken into the upper echelons with a run to the Australian Open quarter-finals before winning titles in Acapulco and Bucharest.
One of his few low moments this year came last month when he was dumped out of the French Open first round by Ivo Karlovic.
He had expected to do well in Paris and admitted the loss sparked several days of soul-searching, ultimately giving him the renewed focus and hunger to succeed at Queen’s.
“I was really down after the French Open. I didn’t touch a racquet for around five, six days after that,” Dimitrov said.
“It was painful. I kept dwelling on it. You go for those long walks and keep thinking about what happened.
“But at the same time that pushed me to practice hard and put me in a really good position.
“I was really positive coming into this week. Next thing you know, I’m in the final. So that’s a good sign.”
Playing with more freedom, Dimitrov has raced through the draw, adding an admiring Wawrinka to a list of scalps that already includes Andy Murray and Tomas Berdych this year.
“His game is similar to Roger (Federer). He has a one-handed backhand, a big forehand and can serve well,” Wawrinka said of a player once dubbed ‘Baby Fed’.
“He’s been having a great year already, winning two titles. I’m sure he can achieve big things in tennis.”
Dimitrov was just too hot to handle as he moved a step closer to his first grass-court title.
The Bulgarian, who has been supported by girlfriend and French Open champion Maria Sharapova this week, took just five games to became the first player in the tournament to break Wawrinka’s serve and added another break for good measure to clinch the first set.
There was no let-up from Dimitrov in the second set and Wawrinka, who smashed his racquet in frustration at one point, conceded the decisive break when his forehand missed by the narrowest of margins to surrender a 4-3 lead.
In the second last-four clash, world No 29 Lopez followed up his surprise last eight win over world No 6 Tomas Berdych with a victory over the week’s other giant-killer.
Stepanek, 35, had defeated reigning Wimbledon and Queen’s champion Andy Murray in the third round and seventh seed Kevin Anderson in the quarter-finals.
But he ran out of steam against the 32-year-old Lopez, whose last final came 12 months ago when he won the grass-court title at Eastbourne.
“The quality of tennis I played today was amazing,” Lopez said.
“Radek also played great. It was a matter of a few points that came my way.”
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Published: June 14, 2014 04:00 AM