Baku, February 17, AZERTAC
Roger Federer added yet another record to his vast collection when he guaranteed becoming the oldest ATP world number one by beating Dutchman Robin Haase 4-6 6-1 6-1 to reach the semi-finals in Rotterdam on Friday, according to Reuters.
Fresh from winning his 20th grand slam title in Melbourne this month, Federer took a wildcard into the ABN AMRO World Tennis event with his eyes fixed on a return to number one for the first time since November 2012.
Needing to reach the last four to overtake great rival Rafael Nadal, Federer showed some early nerves in his quarter-final clash in the port city’s Ahoy Arena, dropping serve in the ninth game on his way to conceding the first set.
But the 36-year-old Swiss, as he usually does, moved through the gears to punish a physically struggling Haase.
A demoralized Haase double-faulted on match point and after an initially restrained celebration Federer sat on his chair and looked close to tears as his feat sank in -- as did some of the Swiss fans leading the rapturous applause.
Federer, whose glittering career has re-ignited since taking six months off in 2016, has won three of the last five grand slams having gone five years without one.
One of the greatest ever late-career runs by any sportsman or woman means he surpasses Andre Agassi who was the previous oldest man to top the ATP rankings.
Incredibly Federer first reached number one in 2004, as a 22-year-old, and having now returned there 14 years later playing some of the best tennis of his career, he looks capable of another lengthy stretch on the throne.
He already holds the record of 302 weeks ranked number one.
The journey continues on Saturday when Federer faces Italian Andreas Seppi in the semi-final with a 97th career title in sight. Seppi beat Russian Daniil Medvedev in three sets.
The other semi-final will feature Bulgaria’s Grigor Dimitrov and Belgian David Goffin. Dimitrov beat Andrey Rublev while Goffin was given a walkover by injured Czech Tomas Berdych.
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