Roger Federer (L) of Switzerland reacts after the ATP tour tennis match against Alexander Zverev of Germany (R Back), in Halle, western Germany, on 18 June - AFP
Reuters - Roger Federer’s bid to win a ninth Halle Open title was ended in the semi-final on Saturday by teenage German Alexander Zverev, who earned the biggest scalp of his fledgling career in beating the 17-time grand slam champion 7-6(4) 5-7 6-3.
Holder Federer, on the comeback trail after back problems, was looking to reach the final of his traditional pre-Wimbledon tune-up in Germany for an unprecedented 11th time, but found the big-serving 19-year-old home favourite too formidable.
The Swiss world number three had not lost to a teenager for nearly 10 years since Andy Murray beat him in Cincinnati in 2006, which highlights Zverev’s considerable potential.
Yet the defeat means the 34-year-old Federer will be going into Wimbledon, seeking his eighth title, in the rare position of not having won a tournament this season.
World number 38 Zverev, who lost to Federer in their only previous meeting in May, dropped just four points on serve in the 39-minute opening set, blasting 14 winners as he took the tiebreak 7-4.
Federer earned a break of serve at 5-5 with a beautiful dropshot in the second set to restore parity but Zverev, the son of a former Russian player with the same name, responded strongly to dethrone the reigning Halle champion.