Wednesday 21 November 2018

Federer back in top gear in Mercedes win tennis

Roger Federer celebrated his return to the top of the world rankings by winning the Mercedes Cup in Stuttgart. Photo: REUTERS/Ralph Orlowski
Roger Federer celebrated his return to the top of the world rankings by winning the Mercedes Cup in Stuttgart. Photo: REUTERS/Ralph Orlowski

Independent.ie Sportsdesk

Roger Federer celebrated his return to the top of the world rankings by winning the Mercedes Cup in Stuttgart.

The Swiss, playing his first tournament since March after skipping the clay-court season, beat Milos Raonic 6-4 7-6 (7/3) for his 98th career title. His run to the final in Germany ensured he usurped long-time rival Rafael Nadal as the world number one, and if he wins in Halle next week - a traditional Federer stronghold - he will arrive at Wimbledon in July looking for a century of wins.

It was Raonic who memorably left Federer on the Centre Court floor on his way to the 2016 Wimbledon final, but the 36-year-old was in no mood to allow a repeat. A single break of serve in the first set was enough for him to take that, though he did have to fend off two break points.

Neither player could muster any break points in a second set heavily dominated by the serve, meaning it had to be decided by a tie-break, which Federer won.

Crowns

It secured his third title of 2018, his 18th on grass and puts him on the verge of a century of crowns. The 20-time grand slam winner next heads to Halle for a tournament he has won eight times. Victory there would put him one away from becoming just the second man to win 100 singles titles, behind Jimmy Connors on 109.

Novak Djokovic, meanwhile, is relishing the chance to renew his rivalry with Andy Murray. Murray is making his long-awaited return at Queen's Club this week after 11 months out with a hip injury.

The Scot had several aborted comebacks, having limped out of Wimbledon last July before going under the knife in January.

"I wish him all the best, tennis misses him, he is a great champion, a great guy, really dedicated, hard working, great ethics," the Serbian, who is also playing at Queen's, said. "I really hope to see him back playing at that level he has played over the last couple of years."

Irish Independent

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