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Federer loses to Zverev in Halle semis

dpadpa 18/06/2016

Top seed Roger Federer has lost to rising German teenager Alexander Zverev 7-6 5-7 6-3 in the semi-finals of the Halle grasscourt tournament.

Alexander Zverev announced the pending arrival of a new tennis generation on Saturday as he stopped eight-time champion Roger Federer 7-6 (7-4) 5-7 6-3 to reach the final of the Gerry Weber Open.

The semi-final setback was the second in a week for 34-year-old Federer, beaten last weekend in Stuttgart on grass by another up-and-coming ace, Dominic Thiem.

Zverev will play for the title against Germany's Florian Mayer, who defeated Thiem 6-3 6-4 in the second semi-final.

Zverev, 19, was a year old when 17-time grand slam winner Federer made his debut on the ATP Tour.

"I feel pretty good, I played very good and served well once again," Zverev said, "That helped me a little bit and I played well in the important moments.

"It's unbelievable to get a win against Roger, especially on grass.

I'm playing well, but he's the best player ever on this surface," Zverev said.

"Right now, I can't take this all in. I could not have imagined this victory yesterday.

"It's nice to win this match going into Wimbledon and obviously (reaching) the final here as well. Don't forget that is also a very big match for me. We'll see what happens tomorrow but I'm happy with my performance today."

Victory against the iconic Swiss in just over two hours leaves Federer with nine days prior to the start of Wimbledon to polish his grass game for the grand slam which he has won seven times.

Zverev finished with 39 winners, eight aces and saved six of seven break points; he is the first German to reach the Halle final since Tommy Haas lifted the trophy in 2012.

Zverev, ranked 38th, won his 27th match of the season after losing to Federer in their first meeting last month in the Rome second round.

Federer was playing a 12th consecutive Halle semi-final but missed out on an 11th straight win at the event in a town where both a street and a hospital kitchen are named in his honour.

The Swiss had beaten 13 German opponents in a row over the last three years before running into Zverev.

The teenaged German won the opening set tiebreaker but Federer showed flashes of form in the second set as he levelled.

The top seed saved two break points in the eighth game with ace and secured a late break to win the set.

But a break midway through the third from Zverev was enough to stay ahead of the veteran at the end, Zverev advanced into his second final in five weeks after losing in Nice to Thiem.

Federer still holds 54 victories in Halle, a tournament record.

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