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Roger Federer vs Robin Haase ATP Rotterdam Preview, Predictions and Live Stream: Federer one win away from No. 1

Leye Aduloju in ATP Tour 16 Feb 2018
  • Roger Federer vs Robin Haase is live from Rotterdam on Friday, 16 February from 7:30pm local time/ 6:30pm GMT
  • Federer leads 2-0 on head-to-head
  • Federer will reclaim the No. 1 ranking for the first time in over five years if he wins on Friday
Roger Federer. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

Roger Federer is just one win away from reclaiming the World No. 1 ranking, as the great Swiss closes in on another remarkable milestone in what is already an incredible renaissance. Victory for Federer over Robin Haase in Rotterdam on Friday will confirm his ascent to the top of the world rankings for the first time since October 2012.

Such a feat appeared unimaginable when he slipped to 17th in the world at the start of 2017 after sitting out the entire second half of the previous season through injury, but the great Swiss launched into a stunning resurgence, claiming seven titles through the year, including Grand Slam crowns at the Australian Open and Wimbledon. 

And he has shown no signs of slowing down in 2018!

While most of the top players in the world continue to nurse one injury or the other, Federer, at 36, has somehow maintained his fitness, and he was again unrivalled in Melbourne as he comfortably claimed the Australian Open title at the start of the year. The Swiss progressed into the final without dropping a set, and while Marin Cilic deserves credit for forcing five sets in the championship match, he was second best for large spells, and was second best in the end.

Recognizing the opportunity to reclaim the No. 1 ranking, Federer accepted a wildcard into Rotterdam, a tournament he had won on two previous occasions, including his last trip to the city in 2013. The draw had initially lined-up a testing second-round meeting with the dangerous Karen Khachanov, and a quarter final showdown with compatriot, Stan Wawrinka, but Khachanov and Wawrinka fell early, seemingly paving the way for the 20-time Grand Slam champion to stroll to the No. 1 ranking, and become the oldest man to assume that status. And stroll he did in his first match, dropping just three games in dispatching Belgium’s Ruben Bemelmans.

The Swiss encountered a more severe, and unexpected examination from Philipp Kohlschreiber, saving two set points in the opening set tie break, and pushed all the way in the second set before emerging with a hard-fought 7-6 7-5 victory.

“It was extremely complicated tonight,” Federer said. “I couldn’t find my range or my rhythm. I think Philipp did that to me; it was a struggle. Today when the score was close, I couldn’t release my shots. So it was a battle... It was quite the relief at the end.”

And so, Federer’s quest for No. 1 comes down to Friday’s quarter final against Robin Haase- can the Swiss complete his Rotterdam mission, or will Haase be the party pooper?

Naturally, being the home player, Haase should get most of the support, but Federer is no respecter of home grounds, he commands adulation virtually everywhere he goes!

Haase is seeking his second semi-final of the season, looking to emulate his efforts in Auckland. He also made the quarter finals in Pune in an encouraging start to the year, but he somewhat lost his way after those two tournaments, entering Rotterdam on a four-match losing streak which started with an opening round defeat to Lorenzo Sonego at the Australian Open. He then lost his two rubbers against France in the Davis Cup World Group play-offs, and crashed to another first-round exit in Sofia. 

However, he has returned to winning ways in Rotterdam, beating fellow Dutchman, Thiemo de Bakker 6-2 6-2 in the opening round, before easing out another of his compatriots, Tallon Griekspoor, conqueror of Stan Wawrinka, in the second round on Thursday.

Haase has never really done well in Rotterdam- this is the first time he has won consecutive matches at the tournament since his quarter final run in 2008. In fact, last year’s first-round victory over Florian Mayer was the first match he had won at the event since that 2008 run. With a career-high ranking of 33, and current mark of 42, the Dutchman is dangerous on his day, but he hasn’t quite had the consistency to make that step up into say, the top 20. Case in study was last season, when he reached semi-finals in Montreal, Dubai and Gstaad, but did precious little elsewhere.

Haase has never taken a set of Federer in their two previous meetings, although he did force a tie break in their Montreal semi-final last year. His big strengths are his serve and forehand, while the backhand is not shabby either. He will take encouragement from how Kohlschreiber pushed Federer on Thursday, but given the stakes, specifically that No. 1 ranking, expect Federer to raise his level significantly, and that should be good enough to take the great Swiss into the semis, and seal his historic return to No. 1.

Roger Federer vs Robin Haase is live from Rotterdam on Friday, 16 February from 7:30pm local time/ 6:30pm GMT

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Roger Federer vs Robin Haase ATP Rotterdam Preview, Predictions and Live Stream: Federer one win away from No. 1

Roger Federer takes on Robin Haase in the quarter finals in Rotterdam on Friday. Will Federer get the win that takes him to No. 1? Read our preview, predictions and stream the match live online.

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