Still going strong at age 35, Roger Federer demolished Alexander Zverev 6 – 1, 6 – 3 to record his ninth Halle Open title.
After winning the 2017 Australian Open for his 18th Grand Slam victory, Federer skipped the clay court season in order to conserve his energy on the surface that has thwarted him in the past.
Back on grass and in Germany in the Halle Open, a grass court tournament used by many pros as a tune-up for Wimbledon next week, Federer did not drop a set all week in walking away to the Gerry Weber Open.
First up last week, Federer was defeated in Stuttgart, but he appeared nothing short of invincible at Halle.
Currently ranked fifth in the world, the number 12 Zverev could not have been considered a walkover by any stretch, yet Federer won the first set in 24 minutes. Quite a shift from the French Open and some of the other clay court tournaments, where 24 minutes is not totally outside the realm of possibility for one game.
Zverev beat Federer in the semifinal of the tournament last year, so this was never a David – Goliath match from the beginning.
Federer was at his serve-and-volley best and Zverev’s tactic of trying to mix things up and lure Federer to the net backfired, as he was unable to pass Federer when he, Zverev, was successful in bringing Federer in.
That sort of strategy might seem better on one of the baseline ralliers that it would seem to use on a seven-time Wimbledon champion, but when Federer is on his game as he was, it is easy to see why an opponent would grasp grass straws in the attempt to beat the greatest grass court player of all time.
In the modern era, the only player who has won an equivalent number of men’s singles titles at Wimbledon is Pete Sampras.