Halle - Teenager
Alexander Zverev caused a major shock as he beat eight-time winner and
top seed Roger Federer in the Halle grasscourt semi-finals on Saturday.
Federer's vulnerability on his favourite surface could perhaps be
explained by a back injury that made the 34-year-old miss last month's
French Open, but this was not the build-up to Wimbledon that the Swiss
The 19-year-old Zverev triumphed 7-6 (7/4), 5-7, 6-3
to reach only his second ATP Tour final after being beaten by Dominic
Thiem on clay in Nice last month.
The tournament will see an
all-German final after 192-ranked Florian Mayer crushed world number
seven Thiem, 6-3, 6-4, in Saturday's second semi-final.
bids for his maiden career title, Mayer plays his sixth final and first
in nearly five years as he targets a second ATP title after Bucharest in
"It's unbelievable to get a win against Roger,
especially on grass," said Zverev. "I played very good and served well
once again. I think that helped me a little bit and I played well in the
"It's nice to get a win like that. It's nice
with that kind of match going into Wimbledon and obviously into the
final here as well.
"Don't forget that that is a very big match
for me as well. We'll see what happens tomorrow but I'm happy with my
Federer, a 17-time Grand Slam winner, won the last three Halle Open
tournaments but he met his match in the spirited world number 38.
over a week before the start of Wimbledon, it was the second semi-final
defeat in a row on grass for the world number three after Thiem beat
him in Stuttgart last week.
Federer hasn't won a Grand Slam since
Wimbledon in 2012 and given the form of world number one Novak Djokovic,
Federer's current level would unlikely see that run come to an end.
The 1.98m (6'6") Zverev is already guaranteed to improve his career-high ranking in Monday's new list to inside the top 30.
He took the first set on a tie-break having lost just four points on serve and firing 14 winners.
earnt the first break of the match at 5-5 in the second with a sublime
drop shot before finishing off the set with two service winners.
But a backhand error from Federer gave Zverev the crucial break in the sixth game of the deciding set.
was unable to battle back from there and he fails to reach the final in
Halle for the first time in his last 11 attempts.
with 39 winners and eight aces while saving six of seven break points,
gaining revenge for a defeat to Federer on the Rome clay last month.
"It's always tough to play somebody the first time," Zverev added.
don't know what to expect, especially against him. He likes to rush
people and is doing the best out of that. In important moments he plays
faster than anybody else and that was something I never felt before and
obviously playing in Rome was a big help for this win I think."
was Federer's first defeat to a teenager in almost 10 years, since
current world number two Andy Murray beat him at the Cincinnati Masters
Results from the ATP Halle grasscourt Open on Saturday (x denotes seeding):
Alexander Zverev (GER) bt Roger Federer (SUI x1) 7-6 (7/4), 5-7, 6-3
Florian Mayer (GER) bt Dominic Thiem (AUT) 6-3, 6-4