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Number One Again! Roger Federer Into Rotterdam Semifinals, Clinching Return Trip To Top Of The ATP World Tennis Rankings

Photo by @ATPWorldTour via Twitter



By Ricky Dimon


There are not many tennis records out there that Roger Federer does not own.


One of the few he doesn’t have will belong to him next week.


Roger Federer (R) of Switzerland and Robin Haase (L) of the Netherlands, during their second round match of the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam, Netherlands, 16 February 2018. EPA-EFE/KOEN SUYK

At 33 years and 13 days, Andre Agassi is the oldest player to have ever been ranked No. 1 on the ATP Tour. Agassi won’t be close to the record this coming Monday. That will soon go to the 36-year-old Federer, who sealed the deal for his return trip to the top spot via a 4-6, 6-1, 6-1 victory over Robin Haase in the the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament quarterfinals on Friday. The Swiss recovered from a slow start to fly past Haase in an incredibly quick three-setter–one hour and 19 minutes.


For a fleeting moment it looked like Federer’s No. 1 bid would be in jeopardy. Haase got off to a surprisingly strong start in front of the home Dutch fans, digging out of a 0-40 hole early in the match before eventually breaking Federer’s serve with a cross-court forehand pass at 4-4. The underdog held easily at 5-4 to wrap up the opening frame of play in style.


Haase, however, never came close to finishing off the upset effort. In fact, Federer surrendered a mere two games the entire rest of the way–raising his own level as his opponent began to struggle physically in the final set.


How confident was Federer once he began to find the range against Haase? Well, the 20-time major champion hit an ace while serving at 1-0, 40-15 in the third. But instead of taking the point and the game, Federer called his own serve out.


“Roger, no one called out,” Haase said when Federer prepared to hit a second serve despite no call following the first delivery.


“It’s out,” Federer replied.


It was like Federer knew he would still win the point, and that’s exactly what he did with a solid second serve followed by an unreturnable forehand.


Just about 15 minutes later, the match–and Federer’s quest for the top ranking–was concluded.


“What an amazing run it’s been and a journey it’s been for me throughout,” he told the crowd during an on-court ceremony. “So to clinch world No. 1 again this following Monday here in Rotterdam really means a lot to me. So thank you very much, everybody.


“I think reaching No. 1 is one of, if not the ultimate achievement in our sport. So sometimes at the beginning you just all of a sudden get there just because you’re playing so well. Later you sometimes try to fight it back and you wrestle it back from somebody else who deserved to be there. And when you’re older, you know you feel like you have to put maybe sometimes double the work in. So this one maybe means the most to me throughout my career, getting to No. 1 and enjoying it right here at 36, almost 37 years old. (It) is an absolute dream come true; I can’t believe it.”


But you can believe this: the Maestro is back where he belongs–at the top of the sport he rules.


Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @Dimonator.

Photo by @abnamrowtt via Twitter

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