Roger Federer has beaten Florian Mayer for an eighth time without a loss to knock the defending champion out of Germany's Halle Open in the quarter-finals 6-3 6-4.
The Swiss top seed survived a break point in the opening game of the second set and then moved 4-2 ahead before taking his first championship point with a backhand volley.
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"I thought it was extremely close-especially that second set", Federer said at his press conference. "I'll prepare myself the best I can, but he's definitely the favourite in that match". "Mentally, I'm fresh again and I've gotten used to match play".
The scenes of joy for the Swiss come at the end of what's been a year of two halves after a knee injury saw him give up the sport for six months, before a stunning return has seen him lift four titles already in 2017.
The final of Halle Open shaped up as a generation game: the 35-year-old monarch against the 20-year-old pretender to the throne.
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Gasquet will next play Germany's Alexander Zverev, last year's finalist who has won three titles this season, after he muscled past baseliner Roberto Bautista-Agut 6-7 (6) 7-6 (1) 6-1. Both players have been in exceptional form this year with Federer winning his 18Grand Slam while Zverev won his first Masters 1000 title at Rome. Gasquet would take the first set, but once again Zverev would show his resiliency by coming back to win, and reach the final for the second year in a row.
"You could have been a bit nicer and allowed me a couple more points", Zverev joked to his idol.
"It was important to be aggressive off the baseline and make him feel my variation and the power I can bring to the court", Federer said after the game. It was his ninth title at Halle, and the shortest of his 11 finals.
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