Roger Federer saw off Canada’s Milos Raonic in the final of Mercedes Cup to win his 98th tour-level singles title. The great Swiss was rock solid from the get go, and it was finer margins which dictated the outcome of a 6-4 7-6 encounter that lasted 1 hour and 17 minutes.
Federer’s mid-season hiatus from the demanding physicality of the clay surface has given him reason for optimism yet again. The soon-to-be-37-year-old captured his third title of the season following 11 weeks of absence from the tour and he now heads to Halle, also in Germany, in fine spirits following his return to the summit of men’s game.
On Saturday Federer celebrated clinching his return to World no.1 following a comeback victory over a resurgent Nick Kyrgios in three sets in the semifinals. He continued that similar sort of form in the final where he met another man looking to establish a renaissance after a topsy-turvy start to the season. Raonic, who like Federer withdrew from the French Open–albeit due to injury–was unbroken throughout the week until today.
Incidentally, the one time the Canadian lost his service game it proved telling. Federer broke the Raonic serve early in the first set and sealed it 6-4. The second set, which was also tight, went into a tiebreak. The big-serving Raonic double faulted to hand Federer an opening to victory. The Swiss could not pass the opportunity as he completed the double celebration with another trophy in his illustrious cabinet. The Swiss, who had held match point in last year’s opening round defeat in Stuttgart to close friend Tommy Haas, has made amends after staying solid throughout the week.
Federer will need to retain his title in Halle next weekend to stay at #1, and with Wimbledon just two weeks away this is looking like a seemingly brilliant start to the grass court season for the legendary Swiss.
According to data from ATPWorldTour.com, Federer is now 98-50 in tour level finals. His title win in Stuttgart is his 18th on the grass courts.
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