Federer closing in on No.1
Originally published on 15/02/18 00:00
The 36-year-old was pushed by an inspired Philipp Kohlschreiber, but he prevailed 7-6(8) 7-5 to extend his winning run to nine matches and progress into the quarter-finals of the ABN AMBRO in Rotterdam.
The Swiss was at his fluid best against Ruben Bemelmans on Wednesday evening, however he was less composed against the German. His baseline play was unusually erratic, but his serve, as is so often the case, was his trusty ally.
Federer, who saved two set-points in a tense first set tiebreak, is yet to drop serve in the tournament.
Only Robin Haase can now prevent the Australian Open champion from reaching top spot for the first time since November 2012.
Grigor Dimitrov is also into the last eight after a hard-earned 7-6(4) 7-5 victory over Filip Krajinovic. He will challenge Andrey Rublev next, who blasted past Damir Dzumhur 6-4 7-6(4).
"I'm just trying to find my rhythm around the court right now," said Dimitrov, who is still searching for his best form.
"I played well in the first set and won the most important points. It's great to get a win on those days you aren't playing that well – it gives you confidence."
Daniil Medvedev ensured there would be two Russians in the quarter-finals by squeezing past Pierre-Herbert Hugues 3-6 7-6(2) 6-4. He will face Andreas Seppi on Friday.