AAP Tennis

Ebden sets up clash with Federer in Halle

By AAP Newswire

Matthew Ebden has set up a quarter-final clash with world No.1 Roger Federer after beating local favourite Philipp Kohlschreiber at the Halle Open.

The Australian No.2 earned his ninth win of the year, hitting 37 winners as Kohlschreiber, who took the first set, lost his way early in the second, allowing his opponent to level at 6-1.

Ebden, at a career-high ranking of 60 and fresh from reaching his second ATP World Tour semi-final at the Rosmalen Grass Court Championships, then ensured his progress as he took the decider to seal an impressive 4-6 6-1 6-2 victory against the 2011 winner.

Ebden will now meet defending champion Federer, who was forced to save two match points before edging out Frenchman Benoit Paire 6-3 3-6 7-6 (9-7) and keep his hopes for a 99th career title alive.

Paire rallied after losing the first set to take the second, and the Frenchman defended two match points at 6-5 in the decider to force a tiebreaker.

Eight minutes later, it was a match point for the 48th-ranked Paire, and again when a mistake from Federer left it 7-6 in Paire's favour.

But the top-ranked Swiss took the next three points to close the match in just under two hours. In doing so, Federer extended his grass-court winning streak to 18 matches, including his titles in Stuttgart last week and at Halle and Wimbledon last year.

Federer, who skipped the entire clay-court season for the second year in a row, is now just four wins away from matching Jimmy Connors' all-time record of 174 victories on grass.

Borna Coric joined Federer in Friday's quarter-finals with a 6-4, 6-2 win over Nikoloz Basilashvili. He will face Italian Andreas Seppi next after he overcame German Florian Mayer 6-2, 6-4.