Roger Federer today confirmed his strong challenger status for this year’s Wimbledon crown by claiming his 100th title on the men’s tour, beating Alexander Zverev to win the Halle Open. The win comes just a week ahead of the Wimbledon. This has been the year of comebacks, with clay court king Rafael Nadal claiming his first French Open and Grand Slam in two years to bring back memories of his domination at the Roland Garros, and Federer would be looking to script his own comeback at the grass courts.
“I was doubting myself a little bit, I must admit, because losing in the opening round for the first time in 15 years on grass was always going to shake me a little bit and it did,” admitted Federer.
Federer did lose a match on the grass courts to Tommy Haas this season, but was in scorching form all week at Halle Westfallen, defeating the Rome Masters champion Zverev in straight sets 6-1, 6-3. Zverev had won all of his previous three finals this season.
Federer will be chasing history when the Wimbledon starts, seeking to win an eight title to equal records with the great Pete Sampras. Federer has been the most fearsome grasscourts player of this generation, and it will be fitting when the legend equals Sampras’ record.
Zverev was egged on sufficiently by the home crowd, but he could manage to win only the fifth game of the first set as the eighteen-time Grand Slam champion looked in ominous form. Federer brought up two break points in the second set after playing it out in a long rally with Zverev, and Federer outplayed his opponent on the serve as he moved to within a game of victory. He served out the game with ease, as he won the 92nd ATP Tour title, putting him within two titles of Ivan Lendl who is second on the all timers list.