Roger Federer has continued his grass court revival, the eight-time champion dismissing David Goffin 6-1 7-6 (12-10) to move into the semi-finals of the Gerry Weber Open.
The Swiss saved four set points in the second set of Friday’s decider to overcome the Belgian fifth seed and move into a Saturday showdown with teenage German Alexander Zverev, who booked his place with a win over Marcos Baghdatis 7-6 (11-9) 6-3.
“I thought it was my best match thus far,” Federer said.
“It is a good win for me and I’m clearly very happy to be in the semis.
“He’s got a big serve, he’s got a nice backhand, he’s improving his forehand and he’s moving forward,” Federer said of his next opponent.
“He’s going to be a tough player in the future, no doubt about it.”
Federer owns a 1-0 mark in the series as he beat the youngster last month in Rome.
Zvereva revelled in the home support in Halle.
“I always enjoy playing at home. It’s that simple. I always enjoy having the crowd behind me,” the 19-year-old said.
“It doesn’t really matter what surface it is. It depends more on me, how I play, how I feel. I’ve played well on all four surfaces.
“I’ve played well on clay, I’ve played well on hard at the beginning of the year. So, I can’t really say there’s a surface I don’t like.”.
Baghdatis meanwhile drew a warning for an unusual infraction. Instead of trashing his racquet on the delicate grass in a fit of anger, he went off court to do it, returning with his weapon hanging in pieces.
Austrian third seed Dominic Thiem, who knocked Federer out of the Stuttgart semis last weekend, got a break in a hectic playing schedule now in its eighth week.
The number seven was given a walkover when German Philipp Kohlschreiber, whom he defeated on Monday for the Stuttgart title, withdrew with a strained hip muscle.
Federer is slowly finding his form with Wimbledon a target.
The 34-year-old World No.3 is coming off back problems and a knee operation which have limited him to just six events this season.
Federer is keen to lift a record ninth title at Halle, where both a street and a hospital kitchen are named in is honour.
“As the weeks go by, the pain is less,” he said earlier about the back problems which kept him out of the French Open.
“I overcame muscular issues, so by now it should be easier. I have had back issues through my whole career, a wonderful career. That’s why I think I will be okay.