Federer in Rotterdam final with 97th ATP title in sight

Rotterdam: Roger Federer scored his 14th defeat of Italy’s Andreas Seppi on Saturday, with a 6-3, 7-6 (7-3) victory which put the new world number one into the final at the Rotterdam World Tennis.
The Swiss will now face Grigor Dimitrov in the Sunday final, with Federer aiming to lift the 97th trophy of his storied career.
Federer, 36, did not waver a day after assuring himself a return to the top ranking spot next week as he set up the indoor showdown, Dimitrov advanced in unfortunate circumstances as opponent David Goffin was forced to retire after being struck in the left eye by a ball off his own racquet.
That sent second seed Dimitrov into the final 6-3, 0-1.
Federer had to work to get past Seppi. The pair traded first-setbreaks before Federer finally took the lead. The second required a tiebreak, with Federer ending the evening with a put away volley tap at the net.
“I felt OK today, maybe a bit heavy on court but I was aggressive,” Federer, who admitted to a late night on Friday after becoming the oldest man to (again) reach the number one position.
“I started finding energy midway through the first set, but the start was tough.”
The two-time winner at Rotterdam is keen to face Dimitrov, whom he has beaten in all six of their matches.
“I’m good, it’s not been a tough week physically, maybe a bit harder emotionally.
“I hope to play one more good match and that’s it for the week.
“I know Grigor well, he had an incredible year last season;, winning London and Cincinnati is next-level.
“This has to be a week where he wants to win this tournament. I’ll try my best and hope it’s enough.”
Unlucky Belgian fourth seed Goffin was forced to leave the court for treatment on his eye after the first game of the second set just over five minutes later, the umpire told Dimitrov that he had won through retirement.
Goffin caught a ball in the eye as it bounced off his frame in the opening game of the second set after Dimitrov had won the first.
Belgian media said the London year-end finalist will need a week of rest — no structural eye damage was seen — and that he will miss next week’s event in Marseille.
The pair are frequent rivals, and were meeting in the wake of the November ATP Finals victory claimed by Dimitrov in that title match.
“There are no guarantees on court, anything can happen,” Dimitrov said. “It was a shock to us.
“There is no insurance out there, but we are professionals and we know the risks. “I saw him right after, it was a little bit of a shock how he felt. It was not pretty what I saw.
“But he’s in hospital right now… We are trying to help with whatever we can on site. I hope the exams and everything go well.”  — dpa