Federer reaches Rogers Cup final
Federer reaches Rogers Cup final
The second-seeded Federer used a 6-3, 7-6 (5) victory over unseeded Robin Haase of the Netherlands on Saturday to reach his sixth final of the year and win his 16th consecutive match.
He had considering skipping the event, which would have been disastrous for the promoters with world No. 1 Andy Murray as well as Novak Djokovic and Stan Wawrinka already out with injuries. But Federer decided to play and now has a chance to add to a tally that includes Australian Open and Wimbledon titles this year.
“I’m very happy that I’ve made it here,” he said. “It was a good decision for me. If I would have known I would have gone to the finals, I would have said ‘yes’ right away. Sometimes you’ve just got to wait and see how you feel. I’m most happy that I’m actually really healthy going into the finals. I haven’t wasted too much energy. I’ve been able to keep points short. I’ve been really clean at net. I think my concentration and just my playing has gone up a notch. I’m just playing better.”
Federer is looking for a third Rogers Cup title, but his first in Montreal, having won in 2004 and 2006 in Toronto. A victory would give Federer, currently ranked third in the world, one of the top two seeds at the US Open beginning Aug. 28 in New York.
The 36-year-old Federer has his longest winning streak since 2012. Next up is 20-year-old Alexander Zverev, who stopped Denis Shapovalov’s impressive run with a 6-4, 7-5 victory in the second semifinal.
Federer has won their three meetings, including a victory over the German on grass in June.
Shapovalov’s tournament included consecutive wins over 2009 US Open champion Juan Martin del Potro and top-seeded Spanish star Rafael Nadal. The victories, and the shaggy-haired youngster’s style and skill on the court, announced his presence not only to Canadian fans but to the tennis world.
“My whole life has changed in the past five days,” he said. “It’s crazy how it is.
“I mean, I go from being not known to being so known in the tennis world, in Canada in general. It’s going to be a little bit of a change to me. I’m going to have to adapt. But that doesn’t change things. I still have to work really hard every day.”
Flag-waving fans in the packed grandstands at Uniprix Stadium were hoping for more magic, but Zverev was too strong, winning 81 percent of the points off his serve compared to 64 percent for Shapovalov.
Haase, who upset seventh-seeded Grigor Dimitrov in the third round, was in his first career semifinal of a Masters Series tournament.
“I hope it gives me a lot of confidence,” Haase said of his performance for the week. “Next week (in Cincinnati), different conditions, different courts, so it’s tournament by tournament. But, in general, to make an achievement like this is good because it shows you can do it.”
Rory McIlroy ready to roll back the years in search of more Major glory at the Open
- Former world No.1 without a Major victory in four years.
- McIlroy looking to play carefree as he goes in search of second Claret Jug.
Rory McIlroy knows what he needs to do to win the Open this weekend: Play as if it does not matter and go for broke.
The world No. 8 has won four Majors but, by his high standards, is in a bit of a slump, having not got his hands on one of the four big titles since 2014. That win came at the US PGA Championship at Valhalla, which came barely a month after his only Open victory at Royal Liverpool.
He tees it up at Carnoustie today with five top-fives this season, but only one win. However, with ever expectant fans and a game that when on song is better than anyone else’s there is expectation he can claim Major No.5 this weekend.
The Northern Irishman’s first Open came at Carnoustie 11 years ago and he is aiming to play the famous links in the same carefree attitude he did as a teenager, and hopes that lands him another Claret Jug.
“I do need to get back to that attitude where I play carefree and I’m just happy to be here,” the 29-year-old said.
“(2007) was my first Open — I was just trying to soak everything in and I was just so grateful to be here. I think that’s a big part of it — if you’re happy in what you’re doing, you’ll be successful.
“As you get a little older, you get a little more cautious in life — it’s only natural. For me, it’s more about playing with the freedom and I don’t want to say being naive but there is something nice about being young and being oblivious to some stuff.
“When we last played The Open here, I was bouncing down the fairways and didn’t care if I shot 82 or 62 because I was just happy to be here. The more I can get into that mindset, the better I’ll play.”
For McIlroy that may well involve using the driver more than some of his rivals. The heatwave the UK has been experiencing has seen the fairways run firm and fast with many of his rivals such as Tiger Woods saying they will mostly hit irons off the tee. But for McIlroy the game plan will change from day to day.
“There’s not going to be one player in this field with a game plan on Wednesday night who will to stick to that the whole way around for 72 holes,’’ McIlroy said. “It’s just not going to happen with wind conditions, with pins. You start to feel a little bit more comfortable with a few shots, and you might start to take some on.
“It’s going to be really interesting, I think, because the golf course is playing so firm and fast, there’s some guys that will see it completely different to the way I see it and vice versa. It’s going to be really interesting to see how it all plays out.’’