international tennis

Roger Federer continues his march to reach the Montreal Masters’ final

The Swiss defeated Dutch player Robin Haase in straight sets 6-3, 7-6(5) to make it to his third ATP Masters 1000 final in 2017.

Swiss superstar Roger Federer turned in a precision performance Saturday at the Rogers Cup in Montreal, using thundering serves and clever backhands to defeat unseeded Dutchman Robin Haase for a spot in the final.

The 36-year-old Federer blasted nine aces and lost just nine points on his serve as he extended his match win streak to 16 – his longest win streak in five years.

He raised his game to another level when it mattered most, beating Haase 6-3, 7-6(5) in just 75 minutes.

“I’m very excited to be back in the finals,” Federer said. “A bit surprising, to be quite honest, because I hadn’t practiced much.”

Federer has taken more time off this year than usual. He skipped the clay-court season from April to mid-June.

“I came from vacation, did some fitness, saw how I was feeling and said, ‘You know what, I practiced so much the last year, let’s go play some matches.’

“It’s a big bonus right now and I hope I can play as free as I have so far in the finals tomorrow.”

The second seeded Federer will meet either German Alexander Zverev in Sunday’s final where he will be seeking his sixth title of 2017. Zverev ended the inspired run of the 18-year-old Canadian Denis Shapovalov, beating him 6-4, 7-5 in an hour and 43 minutes. This is the 20-year-old’s sixth final, and the second Masters 1000 final, in 2017.

Swiss’ continuing resurgence

Federer is undergoing a resurgence this season after it appeared to many he might be slowing down as he transitions through his mid-30s.

“Confidence can get you a long way, and if you’re feeling fine physically and you are ready to fight mentally you have a lot of things in the bag,” said Federer, who would earn the second seed at the upcoming US Open if he wins in Montreal.

“And then the only thing that maybe is missing is practice, but sometimes practice is overrated. It’s all about the matches at some stage.

“I’m happy I’m playing as well as I am this year on the match courts. At the end that’s what matters because I spent hours and hours on the practice courts in the last year.”

The 19-time Grand Slam winner Federer is seeking his 27th Masters 1000 title and his third Canadian Masters crown after wins in 2004 and 2006. This will, however, be his first Rogers Cup title in Montreal with his previous two wins coming in Toronto.

Haase, who hit 17 winners, made a late charge and forced a second-set tiebreak before Federer stymied the challenge to win the match.

Zverev will have a much tougher time against the skilled veteran Federer than he did in beating Shapovalov.

‘Life changing week

Zverev came into Montreal with four titles this season while Shapovalov had just three career match victories. Shapovalov leaves Montreal with seven career wins, including a shocking upset of 10-time French Open champion Rafael Nadal.

“It is a completely life-changing week,” said Shapovalov, whose dream run this week also included a win over former US Open champion Juan Martin del Potro.

The fourth seeded Zverev broke Shapovalov at 4-4 in the first set then served for the set to silence the partisan crowd.

Ultimately, Zverev played better in the key moments, finishing with two aces, winning 81 percent of his first-serve points and breaking the Canadian three times. Shapovalov finished with three aces, six double faults and won 64% of his first-serve points.

With this Zverev also became the first player to qualify for the first edition of the ATP NextGen Finals in Milan to be held in November.

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