Roger Federer beats Japan's Kei Nishikori to set up final against Alejandro Falla at Halle
Meanwhile, Grigor Dimitrov upsets Wawrinka at Queens to set up title decider with Feliciano Lopez
Six-time champion Roger Federer will play Alejandro Falla in the final of the Gerry Weber Open after they won their semifinals on Saturday.
Federer fired 10 aces and defeated the fourth-seeded Kei Nishikori 6-3, 7-6 (4) as he improved his record at Halle to 45-5.
Japan’s Nishikori rallied to force the second set to the tiebreak, where he made a mini-break at 4-2, only to let Federer off the hook with two consecutive forehand errors.
After a first-round bye, Federer began his Wimbledon preparations by defeating Portugal’s Joao Sousa on Thursday then had a walkover in the quarterfinals.
Falla rallied to beat 2011 champion Philipp Kohlschreiber 5-7, 7-6 (5), 6-4 to become the first Colombian to reach the final of a grass-court tournament.
“It’s an amazing feeling,” Falla said. “I knew I had good chances here. I already played great matches on grass courts. It’s my favorite surface.”
The 69th-ranked Falla saved six of the nine break points he faced before defeating Kohlschreiber in 2 hours, 21 minutes.
“He took the big points and that makes the difference,” Kohlschreiber said.
Sunday’s final against seven-time Wimbledon winner Federer will be Falla’s second on tour after he finished runner-up to Ivo Karlovic at Bogota in 2013.
“It would be nice to play Roger, maybe to get revenge for the last couple of matches on grass at the Olympics and at Wimbledon,” Falla said, referring to their previous meetings in 2012 and 2010.
Federer has a 100 per cent record from six meetings with Falla.
Meanwhile, fourth-seeded Grigor Dimitrov upset top-seeded Stan Wawrinka 6-2, 6-4 to reach the final at Queen’s Club.
He will play 10th-seeded Feliciano Lopez in Sunday’s final, after the Spanish left-hander defeated Radek Stepanek of the Czech Republic 7-6 (7), 6-4.
“It’s a good feeling,” Dimitrov said. “I always wanted to be in a final out here; stepping on that [court] on Sunday means a lot to me. It has always been like one of the biggest events for me, for some reason”
It was the first victory in their three meetings for Dimitrov, who at 23 is the youngest player ranked in the world’s top 20.
The Bulgarian took a 3-2 lead on his fourth break point when Wawrinka double-faulted, then broke again for 5-2.
Wawrinka held two break points in the next game but was unable to prevent Dimitrov serving out the set, and the Swiss also failed to convert two break points for a 3-1 lead in the second set.
Dimitrov broke to lead 4-3 and held on to secure a place in his third final of the year, following tournament victories in Acapulco and Bucharest.
“It was not my best match,” Wawrinka said. “Didn’t serve the way I wanted, and didn’t move well. But Grigor was playing well, being really aggressive, serving big and mixing a lot.”
Despite his defeat, Wawrinka was happy with his preparation for Wimbledon, which begins in nine days.
“So far it’s been a positive week except today,” he said. “I was playing well. I’m really happy with the practice session that I did every day. I had a lot of time on the grass, so it’s been really good for the preparation for Wimbledon.”
Lopez and Stepanek engaged in several highly entertaining rallies and drew enthusiastic appreciation from the spectators after their spectacular points.
Lopez fired a backhand winner down the line to save a break point to lead 2-1, but failed to convert any of five break points of his own when leading 3-2.
The Spaniard struggled after leading the tiebreaker 6-3, finally closing out the set on his fifth set point.
A break to lead 4-3 in the second set then earned Lopez a place in his first final since he won on grass at Eastbourne a year ago.