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By Richard Pagliaro | Sunday, June 25, 2017

Roger Federer

Roger Federer outclassed Alexander Zverev, 6-1, 6-3, to capture his ninth Halle title.

Photo credit: Gerry Weber Open

A flick of Roger Federer’s wrist brought Alexander Zverev crashing to the court.

Early in the second set, Federer pulled the string on a delicate drop shot.

Racing forward, Zverev slipped, stumbled and fell flat on his back with his feet tangled up in net as Federer trotted over to check on his fallen foe.

Watch: Federer Advances To 11th Halle Final

Playing with precision, Federer dragged Zverev all over the court and dropped him in a dazzling demolition, 6-1, 6-3, to capture his record-extending ninth Halle championship.

Combining fierce serving that saw him win 26 of 28 first-serve points, a flamethrower forehand and disorientating finesse, Federer outclassed the world No. 12 from start to finish in a comprehensive 53-minute thrashing.

The ease of an emphatic result surprised Federer himself, who cited his fast 4-0 start as a key to victory.

"It's been difficult for me against him the last couple of times. But this morning all of a sudden I got a good feeling about this when I spoke tactics with Ivan (Ljubicic) and I felt I wanted to play on my terms and not be too passive like I was maybe against (Karen) Khachanov at times," Federer said. "But then again that doesn’t buy you much, you know, I still had to get off to a good start in the beginning. I did. And from then on I was able to really start cruising well and fast in the match which is great and I never let down. So, it was great."

The 35-year-old Swiss is the oldest Halle champion in history.

It is the third time he’s swept the Gerry Weber Open championship without surrendering a set following title runs in 2004 and 2008.

Contesting his 140th final, Federer collected his 92nd career title.

The world No. 5 beat both Zverev brothers en route to the title. Federer defeated Mischa Zverev, 7-6 (4), 6-4, earlier this week.

"I think Roger is playing really, really well," Alexander Zverev said after today's final. "I think going into Wimbledon he’s going to be probably the favorite to win the whole thing. So, credits to him.

"He played an unbelievable match. Of course, I could have played better but he didn’t really let me play my best tennis. He mixed with the ball a lot, he played very aggressive. I think he deserved to win."

It is Federer’s fourth title in six tournaments this season, including his 18th Grand Slam championship at the Australian Open and his sweep of the sunshine doubles in Indian Wells and Miami.

A year ago, a then 38th-ranked Alexander Zverev dethroned Federer, 7-6 (4), 5-7, 6-3, to advance to his first Halle final.

The rematch was a mismatch.

Striking with clarity and tormenting the 20-year-old German with variety, Federer forced Zverev to counter from awkward positions on court breaking at love to open.

Drawing the power player into the frontcourt where he's not nearly as comfortbale, Federer dispensed a dose of misery with a drop shot volley-lob combination he finished and an angled volley to carve out a second straight break.

Stamping an authoritative love hold, Federer streaked to a 4-0 lead.

Draining errors from the fourth seed’s forehand, Federer scored his third break building a one set lead after 20 minutes.

Denying the only break point he faced all day with a stinging serve, Federer held to open the second set.

Attacking behind a forehand return, Federer snapped off a high forehand volley for break point. Zverev zapped a serve out wide to dodge the break in the fourth game of the second set.

Accelerating through a sleek game, Federer answered with a love hold for 3-2.

Early in his career, Federer expressed an aversion to the drop shot calling it “a panic shot.” The Swiss stylist used the dropper superbly dispensing match-long misery to the 6-foot-6 German. A drop shot dragged Zverev forward where Federer fired a forehand pass cracking the first break of the second set for 4-2.

When Federer flicked another diabolical forehand dropper that slithered into the front court and died, Zverev could only shake his head in dismay at the top seed’s precision for a 5-2 lead.

A high backhand volley brought Federer to championship point and he knifed a backhand volley to seal a dominant ninth Halle championship in 53 minutes sending a message of intent ahead of Wimbledon.


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