Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : June 17th 2013 Contents A46
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Monday, June 17, 2013
HALLE---If there is one place for
Roger Federer to end a title drought,
then it s Halle, a small town in west-
ern Germany that has a big tennis
stadium and a Roger-Federer-Allee
leading to it.
Federer walked down that alley a
winner again yesterday, ending a 10-
month run of 11 tournaments without
a title, an eternity by his standards.
The 31-year-old Swiss overcame a
sluggish start to beat unseeded Mikhail
Youzhny 6-7 (5), 6-3, 6-4 at the Gerry
Weber Open for his first title since
Cincinnati in August.
Returning to grass in his favorite
warm-up for Wimbledon, it took the
top-seeded Federer until the middle of
the second set to come out of his lethar-
gy and start hitting shots with confi-
dence against a player he had never
lost to in 14 previous career matches.
It was the first final on the tour this
year involving players 30 or older.
"I ve won a lot but not so much in
the last 10 months, although I feel I d
been playing well," Federer said. "But
the others were playing better."
Federer earned his sixth title in Halle
in 11 appearances (eight finals) and his
first since 2008.
Four of Federer s seven Wimbledon
titles have come after triumphs in
Halle---including his first Halle and
Wimbledon championships in 2003.
The former top-ranked player, who
is now No 3, won his 77th career title,
pulling him even with John McEnroe
at third on the all-time list. Jimmy
Connors won 109 and Ivan Lendl 94.
Federer will be looking to add to his
record 17 Grand Slam championships
when he defends his title at Wimble-
"I feel fit, I feel confident, I m excit-
ed about what s to come," Federer said.
"I m very pleased with how I played
Federer had beaten Youzhny in both
last year s semifinal in Halle and the
quarterfinal at Wimbledon, but it
looked for a while Sunday that the
Russian could have discovered a key
to finally beating Federer, although he
had to fend off four break points in
the first game of his first career final
"He was playing well enough to
win," Federer said.
Youzhny, 30, saved another break
point in the 11th game, but he had the
Swiss on the defensive and Federer
saved a set point in the next game
before holding to go into the tiebreaker.
An error by Federer gave Youzhny
a set point and the Russian put away
a volley winner to go ahead.
Federer finally started finding his
range and went up when Youzhny
double-faulted at break point in the
eighth game, which proved to be the
turning point of the match.
The Swiss hit a perfect backhand
passing shot to go up 4-3 in the third,
BIRMINGHAM---Slovakia s Daniela
Hantuchova won her sixth career
title yesterday, beating Croatian
teenager Donna Vekic 7-6 (7-5),
6-4 to win the Aegon Classic.
Fourteen years separated the two
finalists but there was little between
16-year-old Vekic and the 60th-
The Slovak struck first in the
opening set, breaking her oppo-
nent s serve to lead 4-3 but Vekic
hit back immediately to level the
Hantuchova dominated the
tiebreaker, however, and despite
throwing away a 5-2 lead regained
control to win 7-5.
The second set was just as tight
as the first but a break of serve at
5-4 proved decisive for Hantuchova,
who sealed a straight sets win.
NUREMBERG---Simona Halep won
her first WTA title when she beat
Andrea Petkovic 6-3, 6-3 to win the
inaugural Nurnberger Ver-
The seventh-seeded Romanian had
six aces and broke for a 2-0 lead in the
second set of the clay-court final. She
fought off two break points in the last
game before closing out the match with
two forehand winners to win the first
of four career finals.
Petkovic, a German wild card, was
in her first final in more than 20 months
after injuries and was seeking her third
title. A former top-10 player, Petkovic
is on the comeback trail.
"Simona played incredibly and I was
a little tired," Petkovic said. "Still, I had
a good week."
Hantuchova takes Aegon
Classic in straight sets
Halep earns career
title number one
Federer grabs first
title of the year
Switzerland's Roger Federer serves
the ball to Mikhail Youzhny of
Russia during the final of the ATP
Gerry Weber Open tennis
tournament in Halle, Westphalia,
Germany, yesterday. AP PHOTO
held for 5-3 with a smash and
fired a service winner to seal his
victory after two hours and two
Federer has a big following at
the Halle tournament and the
fans gave him a standing ovation,
while his wife Mirka let out a sigh
of relief while keeping an eye on
their twin daughters.
"The difference was that he
was better today---he s been better
all his life," Youzhny said, referring
to his lifetime losing streak against
Federer, who finished with 12
aces, said his serve had kept him
in the match.
"The first set was very close,
it could have gone either way. I
had to fight very hard to stay in
the second, my serve saved me
today," Federer said. "At the end
I was just a bit steadier."
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