Roger Federer is steering the way for his ninth title at the Gerry Weber Open in Halle.
Federer advanced to the semifinals of the Gerry Weber Open for the 13th time by beating defending champion Florian Mayer 6-3, 6-4 Friday.
Federer, an eight-time champion in Halle, had 11 aces, saved both break points he faced and converted two of his own to maintain his bid for a 16th grass-court title.
“I thought I was very calm out there, even in difficult moments,” said Federer, who only returned to action last week in Stuttgart after a two-month break. “I was calm serving out the first and second sets. Those are always signs for me that things are slowly starting to fall into place nicely.”
Federer, who lost to German veteran Tommy Haas in Stuttgart, has not dropped a set in three matches this week while improving his record in Halle to 57-6.
He will next face Karen Khachanov, who defeated Andrey Rublev 7-6 (8), 4-6, 6-3.
“I don’t know him that well yet, so it’s a match where I’ll most likely focus on my own game,” Federer said of facing the Russian in the semifinals.
Fourth-seeded Alexander Zverev will face Richard Gasquet in the other semifinal match. Zverev defeated Roberto Bautista Agut 6-7 (6), 7-6 (1), 6-1, while Gasquet beat Robin Haase 6-1, 3-6, 6-1.
Gilles Muller and Feliciano Lopez continued to defy age and their unseeded status as they progressed to the Queen’s semifinals on Friday.
Lopez, 35, saved a match point on his serve en route to ousting seventh-seeded Tomas Berdych in three sets, while Muller, 34, overcame Sam Querrey in straight sets.
“I’m a little bit old. I’m going to be 36 but I’m enjoying the moment a lot, and I think I’m playing some of my best tennis,” Lopez said.
“It’s been a great run this week, especially today saving a match point against a great player like Tomas.”
After exchanging tiebreak wins, Lopez and Berdych played out a high-quality decider. The Spaniard saved a match point at 4-5 before turning the tables on Berdych to prevail 7-6 (5), 6-7 (1), 7-5.
Lopez will face sixth-seeded Grigor Dimitrov on Saturday in a repeat of the 2014 final which the Bulgarian won at the west London venue.
Dimitrov came through a topsy-turvy encounter with Daniil Medvedev of Russia 6-3, 3-6, 6-3.
“It was a very tricky match; it’s never easy to play a guy you’ve never played before,” Dimitrov said. “He definitely surprised me.”
Despite his unseeded status, Muller is the tournament’s form player.
He defeated Querrey 6-4, 7-6 (5) to stretch his winning run to seven matches after claiming a grass-court title in the Netherlands last week.
“In the important moments I’m able to bring out some great shots,” the Luxembourg player said. “It’s a great feeling when you get that many matches in a row. It gives me a big boost and a lot of confidence.”
He’s made the Queen’s semifinals for the first time after reaching the quarterfinals in the previous two years.
Muller will face Marin Cilic, the highest remaining seed at No. 4, on Saturday. The 2012 champion cruised past Donald Young 6-4, 7-5, despite the American saving 10 of Cilic’s 12 break points.
Novak Djokovic will play at the grass-court tournament in Eastbourne next week in preparation for Wimbledon.
Organizers say the No. 4-ranked Djokovic has accepted a wildcard into the main draw.
It will be the first time Djokovic has played a grass-court event between the French Open and Wimbledon since 2010. He is coming off a surprise straight-set loss to Dominic Thiem in the quarterfinals at Roland Garros.
British tennis player Dan Evans admitted Friday that he tested positive for cocaine in April and now faces a suspension.
The 27-year-old Evans, who reached a career-high ranking of No. 41 in March, organized a news conference in London and read a statement but took no questions.
“It’s really important you know this was taken out of competition, and the context was completely unrelated to tennis,” Evans said. “I made a mistake, and I must face up to it. I can only deeply apologize from the bottom of my heart.”
The International Tennis Federation confirmed that Evans failed a doping test on April 24 at the Barcelona Open.
“Mr. Evans will be provisionally suspended with effect from 26 June … pending determination of the case,” the ITF said in a statement.
Evans, who has dropped out of the top 50, was already a doubt for Wimbledon after pulling out of next week’s grass-court tournament in Eastbourne with a calf injury.
Two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova, competing in only her second tournament since her playing hand was injured in a knife attack at her home, advanced to the semifinals at the Aegon Classic on Friday.
The left-handed Czech player beat Kristina Mladenovic 6-4, 7-6 (5) on grass at the Wimbledon warm-up tournament.
Kvitova struck the ball solidly on both sides, moved well, and made bold forays to the net. But she double-faulted twice when she was trying to close out the match at 5-3 in the second set. Mladenovic evened the score and led 3-1 in the tiebreaker.
She rescued herself with two pieces of good luck.
First, Mladenovic double-faulted going for 4-1 in the tiebreak, and when she was serving at match point down at 5-6, Kvitova’s widish-looking service return took a net cord, lurched into court, and fell dead.
“I am sorry for what happened at match point, but I am very happy to win,” Kvitova said. “She is very highly ranked (12), and for me, it is only the second tournament in my comeback. I was very happy with my performance.”
Kvitova next plays a friend since childhood, compatriot Lucie Safarova. She had her own drama, saving match points for the second time this week. She recovered from 5-3 down in the final set to beat Daria Gavrilova of Australia 6-7 (4), 6-3, 7-6 (5).
Safarova saved two match points against third-seeded Dominika Cibulkova in the first round, and three against Gavrilova in a contest so full of entertaining rallies that the women received a prolonged standing ovation.
The tournament’s other Grand Slam winner, former French Open champion Garbine Muguruza, also reached the semifinals, only her third of the year and the first on grass since she reached the final of Wimbledon nearly two years ago.
It happened abruptly when her opponent CoCo Vandeweghe, the unseeded American who ousted the fourth-seeded Johanna Konta, shook hands just three points into the final set.
Muguruza won 4-6, 6-4, 30-love, though she took pleasure in again having achieved a good rhythm on a surface which is not the most natural for her.
“I came here early, and I have put in the hours, and I feel I’m doing something good because I am winning,” she said. “But to be honest, I didn’t even realize she was going to retire.”
Vandeweghe injured a foot in her opening match which, she said, contributed to a fall in the second set against Muguruza. She hurt an ankle.
“Any injury so soon before Wimbledon has to be a concern,” she admitted before going to have a scan.
Muguruza next plays Ashleigh Barty, the unseeded Australian who was leading Camila Giorgi 5-2 and progressed when the Italian became the second injury retirement on the day.
Giorgi, who had a thigh strain, fought through three rounds of qualifying and was trying to struggle through her sixth match of the week.