Roger Federer hours to setting tennis history

Roger Federer hours to setting tennis history

Swiss tennis player Roger Federer of Switzerland jubilates returns a ball to Germany Philipp Kohlschreiber during their second round match of the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam on February 15, 2018.

Federer won against German Phillip Kohlschreiber 7-6 (8) 7-5. Federer had to reach the semi-final in the tournament where he made a debut way back in 1999 and he did that in style, returning to the number 1 spot for the fourth time in his career and the first since the October 2012.

Agassi's final spell at the top of the rankings was aged 33, but Federer, 36, is set to smash that record with a win over the unfancied home favourite.

He also sets a new record for the longest time between debuting as world number one (in 2004) and his latest stint - a record previously held by Rafael Nadal, the man Federer has knocked off the top of the pile.

The oldest number one previously was eight-time Grand Slam victor Andre Agassi, who was 33 when he last topped the rankings in September 2003.

Now only the Netherlands' Robin Haase, a 6-4, 6-0 victor late Thursday night over Dutch wildcard Tallon Griekspoor, stands in his way.

"It was extremely complicated tonight", Federer said post his win. I think Philipp did that to me; it was a struggle.

Federer had to work hard against Kohlschreiber to maintain his hopes, though, prevailing in a 54-minute first set after a lengthy tie-break. "It's a bad feeling, but when you do come back and snatch the set, it's such a key moment in the match and I was able to utilize that".

Second seed Grigor Dimitrov also enjoyed safe passage although, like Federer, he had to fight to oust Filip Krajinovic 7-6 (7-4) 7-5.

He advanced to face another American, Frances Tiafoe, who reached his first ATP quarterfinal by beating Israel's Dudi Sela 6-4, 3-6, 6-0.

The Bulgarian will face Andrey Rublev on Friday after the 20-year-old Russian struggled for almost two hours before finally seeing off Damir Dzumhur 6-4, 7-6 (7/4).

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