South Holland: Roger Federer celebrated becoming the oldest man to reach the world number one by making the Rotterdam Open final on Saturday with a 6-3, 7-6 (7/3) victory over Italy's Andreas Seppi despite losing sleep watching early-morning coverage of the Winter Olympics.
The 36-year-old Federer racked up his 14th win from 15 matches with 33-year-old Seppi, the world number 81 who had enjoyed a memorable week in the Dutch port city by reaching the semi-finals as a 'lucky loser'. Top-seeded Federer will face Grigor Dimitrov in Sunday`s final.
Dimitrov, the second seed, advanced to the semi-finals when Belgian opponent David Goffin was forced to retire after injuring his eye when the ball flew off his own racquet. Dimitrov was leading 6-3, 0-1 at the time.
Federer said that despite not getting much sleep due to the excitement of his latest achievement -- and draining more energy by watching the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics in the pre-dawn hours -- he expects to be fighting fit for his Sunday showdown which could result in a 97th career trophy.
"I felt OK today, maybe a bit heavy on court but I was aggressive," the 20-time Grand Slam title winner said. "I started finding energy midway through the first set, but the start was tough."
The two-time Rotterdam champion, who guaranteed a return to the world top spot by seeing off Robin Haase in the quarter-finals on Friday, added that he will be ready to go for his first afternoon match of the week after playing the night showcase slots. "I'm good, it's not been a tough week physically, maybe a bit harder emotionally," he added. "I hope to play one more good match and that's it for the week."
Federer also dropped a big hint that he still might play the Dubai tournament, which begins a week from Monday. The seven-time winner of the Gulf tournament said that he will take a decision later in the week one way or the other. "It's still open," he said.
Despite enjoying a 6-0 career stranglehold over Dimitrov, with their last meeting in the 2017 Wimbledon fourth round, the top seed will not take anything for granted on Sunday. "I know him very well, he had an incredible year last season, winning London (the World Tour Finals) and Cincinnati. He`s beaten some good players and started this year solid. "This has to be a week where he wants to win this tournament. I`ll try my best and hope it`s enough," said Federer.