© Markus Peter, empepress.ch

Roger Federer is now 7-2 in his FedEx ATP Head2Head series against Gilles Simon after beating the Frenchman in Basel on Friday.

Roger's Relief: Federer Forced To Battle Into Basel SF

Federer seeks ninth title in Basel

Top seed Roger Federer was made to dig deep in the Swiss Indoors Basel quarter-finals, battling past French veteran Gilles Simon 7-6(1), 4-6, 6-4 on Friday.

"Sure, Gilles came back. But I found a way, which was most important, so I'm really happy now," said Federer, who is into his 200th tour-level semi-final. "It was always going to be at times a frustrating match, because you're always going to hit winners and errors against Gilles because he puts so many balls in play."

The 37-year-old has now reached the semi-finals at his hometown tournament in 12 consecutive appearances. The Swiss is 15-1 in Basel quarter-finals, with his only loss at this stage of the event coming 19 years ago against then-World No. 6 Tim Henman. Federer was just 18 years old.

The eight-time champion and 13-time finalist has now won 18 consecutive matches at the ATP World Tour 500-level event, where he is pursuing his 99th career tour-level trophy. If Federer goes on to triumph this week, he’ll earn his fourth title of the season, finishing in the winners’ circle that many times in a year for the 14th time.

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And while Federer got through after two hours and 34 minutes, it was anything but easy for the Swiss.

Simon has shown good form this year, winning titles in Pune and Metz. And the Frenchman showed it against Federer, keeping the home favourite from gaining any rhythm, especially off his dangerous forehand side. Simon served for the opening set, and then held a set point on the eight-time champion's serve while leading 6-5. But Federer, who made a slew of unforced errors off the forehand wing early, reduced his mistakes to cruise through the ensuing tie-break.

But the Frenchman maintained his focus, mixing up his paces well in the second set to continue frustrating the Swiss, forcing a decider. But despite coughing up an early break in the third set, Federer stayed the course and advanced, despite getting broken five times, when Simon missed a two-handed backhand long. Federer has now won seven consecutive FedEx ATP Head2Head matches against Simon, leading their rivalry 7-2.

"I really enjoyed it. I think I also showed emotions, I was trying to pump myself up," Federer said. "It's an absolute pleasure playing on home soil with the crowd supporting me so much. I think they felt like I was in danger, and it was nice that they were there every step of the way."

Federer will next face Russian Daniil Medvedev, who beat #NextGenATP Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-4, 3-6, 6-3. It will be a re-match of the pair's first FedEx ATP Head2Head meeting, which took place earlier this month at the Rolex Shanghai Masters, where Federer won in three sets.

Medvedev now leads the ATP World Tour with 37 hard-court match wins in 2018, breaking a tie with Argentine Juan Martin del Potro. Tied for third on the list are Kevin Anderson and Federer, with 30 wins apiece on the surface.

Medvedev is playing his best tennis, recently claiming his maiden ATP World Tour 500-level trophy at the Rakuten Japan Open Tennis Championships 2018 in Tokyo, which was his third trophy of the season (also Sydney and Winston-Salem). The 22-year-old cracked the Top 20 of the ATP Rankings for the first time this week at No. 20.

"I think it's going to be a tough semi. I'm very excited, apparently it's my 200th semi-final on the Tour," Federer said. "It's something I'm very excited about, that it also happened here in Basel."

Watch Highlights Of Federer's Win In Shanghai Against Medvedev

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