Federer Battles Past Simon into Swiss Indoors Semifinals – As he has all week, Roger Federer has had to grind through patches of his matches, or rather several of them, playing at a level less than accustomed to. The Swiss maestro again went three sets in Basel, this time overcoming a 0-3 and 2-5 first set deficit. In a match filled with ten breaks of serve, Federer began to play much more aggressively from 1-4 onward, dominating the first set tiebreak. However through a flurry of service breaks in the second and third sets, he was forced to go the distance for the second time in three matches this tournament. Momentum swings occurred frequently, even in the final set. Federer jumped to a 3-0 lead, only to see the scoreline even at 4-all. At 4-5 40-15, it seemed certain that Simon would even the set at 5-all. However, after an aggressive backhand down the line winner by Federer and a couple long rallies in favor of the Swiss, match point finally arrived.
Federer clinched victory with a slice return forcing a backhand error, defeating Frenchman Gilles Simon 7-6 (1) 4-6 6-4 in 2 hours 34 minutes. It marks the twelfth consecutive semifinal appearance for the 37-year-old Swiss, who is seeking his ninth title in his hometown, Basel. While Federer served 15 aces for the match, he still struggled on serve, putting only 59% of his first serves into play, winning 71% of points on first serve and just 44% of points on second serve. His serve was broken by Simon five times out of ten break points faced. The 8-time Basel champion also converted 50% (5/10) on his own break point opportunities. He will face Daniil Medvedev on short rest in Saturday’s semifinal. The Swiss prevailed in a three set thriller in their last meeting at the Shanghai Rolex Masters.
“Sure, Gilles came back. But I found a way, which was most important, so I’m really happy now,” said Federer, who is into his 200th semifinal on the ATP World Tour. “It was always going to be at times a frustrating match, because you’re always going to hit winners and errors against Gilles because he puts so many balls in play.”
“I really enjoyed it. I think I also showed emotions, I was trying to pump myself up,” Federer said. “It’s an absolute pleasure playing on home soil with the crowd supporting me so much. I think they felt like I was in danger, and it was nice that they were there every step of the way.”
“I think it’s going to be a tough semi. I’m very excited, apparently it’s my 200th semi-final on the Tour,” Federer said. “It’s something I’m very excited about, that it also happened here in Basel.”