Halle SF previews and predictions: Federer vs. Khachanov, Zverev vs. Gasquet

Roger Federer is two wins away from another Halle title, but first he has to get past Karen Khachanov before thinking about a potential Sunday final. On the other side of the bracket, Alexander Zverev is facing Richard Gasquet.

(1) Roger Federer vs. Karen Khachanov

Federer and Khachanov will be going head-to-head for the first time in their careers when they battle for a place in the final of the Gerry Weber Open on Saturday. Federer’s success so far this week has come as no surprise. Not only was in need of a quick grass-court turnaround after losing his Stuttgart opener to Tommy Haas, but he also headed into Halle with a 54-6 lifetime record at this event. The 35-year-old Swiss punched his ticket to the last four by beating Yuichi Sugita, Mischa Zverev, and Florian Mayer in straight sets, thus improving his 2017 record to 22-2.

It has been a breakout season for Khachanov, who started the year a horrendous 2-8 but has now evened his record at 16-16 while climbing to No. 38 in the world. The 21-year-old Russian is coming off a fourth-round performance at the French Open and so far in his 2017 grass-court debut he has taken out Gilles Simon, Kei Nishikori (via first-set retirement), and Andrey Rublev. Dropping sets to Simon and Rublev was not particularly encouraging and the competition level obviously ratchets up to a massive extent on Saturday, so Khachanov’s run will likely come to an emphatic end.

Pick: Federer in 2 with no tiebreakers

(4) Alexander Zverev vs. (5) Richard Gasquet

Saturday is a big ticket in Halle, where the fans have Federer in action along with the top-ranked German–Zverev. The 20-year-old has climbed to No. 12 in the rankings and is currently in line for a berth in the World Tour Finals. A recent title winner at the Rome Masters (the fourth ATP triumph of his career), Zverev has advanced this week with victories over Paolo Lorenzi, Philipp Kohlschreiber, and Roberto Bautista Agut.

Up next for the fourth seed on Saturday is a second career showdown against Gasquet. Their only previous encounter came earlier this season on the indoor hard courts of Montpellier, where Zverev lifted the trophy after upending the Frenchman 7-6(4), 6-3 in the final. Gasquet was a question mark going into this week because he retired from his French Open third-rounder against Gael Monfils due to a thigh injury, but he has managed to defeat Monfils, Bernard Tomic, and Robin Haase. With an edge in current form and home-court advantage, Zverev should be able to treat the home crowd to a win and likely set up a blockbuster title tilt with Federer.

Pick: Zverev in 2

87 Comments on Halle SF previews and predictions: Federer vs. Khachanov, Zverev vs. Gasquet

  1. Khachanov in 2 and Zverev in 2. Federer has never met him before and might be a bit like dubai with donskoy

  2. Fed definitely looked a bit rusty in that tie-breaker. Khachanov was good though, he could be dangerous at Wimbledon.

    • Khachanov was nervous. He can play better but he was able to make it close 2nd set. Of the two Russians, Rublev and Khachanov, Rublev has more potential on grass.

      That wasn’t convincing from Fed.

      • Yeah, Khachanov was nervous. Fed held it together slightly better on the big points in the 2nd set, but he wasn’t very convincing. I still feel like Khachanov can be a dangerous floater on grass, just because of his ability to hit the ball ridiculously hard.

        • Agree over 5 sets very dangerous floater. Works out like crazy in Barcelona – Spanish coach. Rublev is there too. Rublev takes the ball earlier than Khachanov — waiting to see though if he makes it through Wimbledon qualies. He’s only 19.

          • I don’t like both their style, just serving big and hitting hard, though very effective among modern day style of tennis.

            As I said earlier, Fed doesn’t look convincing in his matches, not only rusty imo, but his timing is off, he looks slow running for his shots, perhaps Khachanov’s hard hitting has caused Fed those problems. He didn’t have problems vs Mischa and Mayer as both weren’t hard hitters.

            • I can’t wait for Gasquet v Zverev!

              Sorry to say this, but the match on now, Muller and Cilic — uhg. So boring.

              F-lo I do like watching and hope he can win Queens.

  3. I don’t like Feli, he only has a sliced BH,can’t even hit a proper BH regularly. Feli vs Muller, that will be even more boring, just like Isner vs Cilic.

    It’s the contrast of styles that makes the match(es) more interesting. On grass the big servers and big hitters have the advantages, it’s short point tennis most of the time, like it or not.

  4. I would prefer a Cilic vs Dimi final, at least there should be some rallies going on; Muller is just not great in ROS, can’t handle Cilic’s big serves.

  5. No preview from Ricky for the new ATP 250 grass tournament in Turkey?

    The draw is lead by Dominic Thiem and includes Coric, Verdasco, Khachanov…

  6. I thought Federer looked great today given he’s still over a week before his first Wimby match. On a course to be more than ready to compete for his 8th title.

    Conditions so fast. Would take quite the upset to take him down in BO5 on centre court imo.

    Only level on grass from last five years that I’d pick as a favourite to beat him would be 2015 Djokovic but that guy is no where to be found.

    Maybe 2013 level Murray but no guarantee.

    Something very fishy going on for a guy to have such strength, endurance, speed and agility at almost 36.

    Incredible to watch what he can still do.

    He’s also the most consistently confident player over the years that I’ve ever seen. Only lapse was during back problems in 2013 but that was understandable.

    Very impressive so far and improving.

    Hope Zverev makes the final. Would make for great tennis but Federer would be the clear favourite again.

    • Gasquet looks steadier than Fed, imo. Gasquet got the first set from Sascha. I could see Fed losing to Gasquet.

      • Federer will crush mentally fragile gasket.

        Fed does everything better than Reeeeshatd.

        Zverev would be a more interesting matchup in my view. At least he doesn’t have the mental baggage of losing to Fed so many times and the crowd should show their compatriot some level of support at least.

        Gasket a hopeless 2-15 vs Fed losing the last 15 sets in a row. Pretty badly too just getting the following games per set LOL: 3 3 1 1 4 2 2 1 3 4 3 3 2 2 4

        • Whereas Zverev beat Fed last two times they’ve played including last year in Halle.

          But looks like reeshard gonna play spoiler just to punk out to Federer tomorrow.

          • Fed was crap in Halle last year — like Benny G. said and that’s what I remember, too.

            When was the other time Sascha beat Fez?

        • Well, then. You are the expert on Fed! 😀

          And didn’t you, Hawk, say these NextGen’s just aren’t there yet. Unfortunately TC is again lingering way too long on Queen’s.

          I’m sorry Benny G, I know Gilles is great — I just want to see someone else besides Gilles…a little WTA would be great, too 🙂

          • Yes I did say that and it is still very true even with two of the big four struggling big time.

            Let them win a few slams collectively or even ONE before we even begin to consider a changing of the guards.

            They’re not even knocking at the door.

            • I agree about the NexGen. Not ready. But coming along…a couple of them.

              We’ll see. As usual I can’t see Fed winning Wimbldon playing like he has so far. But you called it in AO!!

          • RC, the Muller vs Cilic match went the distance and it was quite interesting, seeing Cilic getting frustrated trying to break Muller’s serve, having at least thirteen BP chances that he missed. Muller was really something, very tough and focused during crucial moments. Cilic won the match in the end. Muller was playing some really good grass court game.

            The Gasquet vs Sasha match looks more like a HC match with many medium length rallies, but it’s still good to watch, not because of Sasha but because of Gasquet. Gasquet has a nice game on grass and moves well on grass too.

            • I don’t like watching Muller. Happy for him winning titles at his age but not a fan.

              Cilic fought it out. Nice win for him.

              My favorite match this week was Sascha v RBA. I liked Khachanov v Rublev too but as you say, they played like it was HC.

              But I agree with you about Federer.

      • Come on RC, Fed will not lose to Gasquet. Gasquet, like Mischa and Mayer, are the type of players that Fed would eat for lunch, they simply do not have the speed, power, tennis acumen to deal with Fed esp on grass.

        A big server cum big hitter who can move well may have a better chance over Fed on grass but they must hit and serve consistently well and with precision. At least Sasha will have a better chance than Gasquet vs Fed.

            • Well, he did beat Federer in 3 sets last year in Halle. But then lost in the final. Shampoo, rinse, repeat lol

              Builds character, my dad would say.

    • Sorry, we must be watching a different match. What I saw was a Fed who’s rusty, slow and mis-hitting. Fed playing like this will have problems when facing red hot big hitting players.

      Again Hawkeye, you’re way off, just like when you’re gauging Djoko and then Murray, about them being back! I say it now, Fed is way off his early 2017 level, and I think he may get beaten in the QF at Wimbledon if he meets someone like Cilic, or even Sasha Zverev. If the grass surface is quicker this year, it will be worse for Fed against guys like them.

      • Well you’re entitled to your opinion about me being way off Lucky. My overall track record speaks for itself in my opinion.

        You say Gasket doesn’t have the speed, power, tennis acumen to deal with Fed esp on grass and I agree.

        The problem is nor does anyone else over BO5 IMO.

        Sure there can be upsets for anyone but who would you actually pick as a favourite over Federer either to win Wimbledon outright or to beat him there. Not could beat him but actually pick to beat him.

        I’d still pick Fed over any of the big four at the moment and certainly as a favourite over the likes of Cilic, Muller, Zverev and Kyrgios for instance even though any of them could pull an upset as could any of the big four for that matter.

        • And might I remind you that more than a few weren’t impressed with Federer’s form prior to Australia with the exact tsame criticisms.

          Again, who at the moment do you pick above Fed either outright for the title or heads up not as an upset but as a favourite.


          • Hawkeye, I’ll pick Cilic over Fed should they meet, but I’m not going to say that Cilic after beating Fed would sure to win the Wimbledon title. It all depends on match ups and also the draw. If Cilic can produce his USO2014 form then yes he may go on to win the title; beating Fed doesn’t guarantee winning the title unless it’s the title match they’re playing in.

            Hawkeye, you keep heaping self praises upon yourself about how good you’re at predicting outcomes of matches etc, but you’re wrong predicting about Djoko, esp at the FO (you predicted him reaching the SF and lost to Rafa but that didn’t happen).

            We shall see whether you’re right this time about Fed at Wimbledon.

            Regarding your question about who has the speed, power, tennis acumen to deal with Fed on grass, well in the past there were those who beat him. Right now those who had beaten him in the past may not be playing well but I do not see Fed playing well either.

            Players like Mischa, or Mayer for examples, are playing the grass court game but who can play the grass court game better than Fed does to beat him? Those who beat him on grass aren’t/weren’t playing the grass court game to beat him, they either played from the baseline, defended well, moved well and then went on the offense once they seized the opportunities. Or, they simply served big and hit hard without missing and on their good days might stand a chance – like Berdych at Wimbledon in 2010, or Thiem and Sasha last year at Stuttgart and Halle respectively.

            • Agree with almost everything you say except the part about Cilic more likely to beat Fed than other way around. All of Cilic matches have been close, even vs Donald Young on grass.

              And hey, everyone can be wrong once in a while. If not, you’re not trying hard enough.

              But I’d prefer to keep it about tennis which I’d thought we’d agreed to please. I’m making a consolidated effort. Only brought up Australia because you said I was way off.

              I don’t think you or rc are way off. Well maybe rc about thinking gasket might have given Fed a fight.


            • Lucky,

              Thank you for saying it! Someone had to! Heaping praise on oneself when it’s not deserved, for the purposes of supposedly getting the upper hand in a discussion, is just too much.

              As you pointed out, the prediction of Novak getting to the semis of RG was wrong. Now there is nothing wrong with not always being right as long as one acknowledges it.

              Maybe I should start touting my good resujts for the men’s bracket challenges. I finished second for RG because I got both semifinalists right and the winner!

              But then I don’t feel the need to do that. I fovwekl and then I can also do poorly. Predictions are not an indication that anyone knows anymore than others.

              I am not penciling in Fed yet for the win. There is never a sure thing at a slam.

            • Not biting nny.

              Nice try though. I would have in the past.

              Hoping we can collectively move on.

              All I’ll say on the matter.


          • I probably want you to do what you want me to do. i.e., nothing but discussing tennis and posting thoughts.

            Was mostly asking Lucky rc who’s thinking I’m way off again.

            But yeah, he’s not perfect but all things considered, I can’t see how one would pick someone above him at Wimby as a favourite.

            And I’m more confident about him now than I was prior to Australia.

            • Sorry, I meant to say that I can do well and also do poorly when it comes to predictions. But that’s okay. I don’t have to be right all the time!

      • rc.

        Yes I saw that Zverev beat Fed last year. I think this is a different Fed. But also a different Zverev, a year older and more mature and more experienced. I would think Zverev would look forward to playing the best.

        It could be a really good match. I like Sascha and would love to see him do well. But I just feel that I have to watch it.

  7. I don’t know if I am watching live or not, but I just saw Sascha win the second set to take it to a third set.

      • Hello Nny.

        Yes finally we have pictures from Halle!
        Sascha worked so hard yesterday to beat RBA, too.

        • rc,

          Thanks for the update on Sascha vs. RBA. Missed that one.

          I am really enjoying this chance to see Sascha play at home on the grass. My first opportunity to see him on the grass!

          He looks pumped!

      • Lucky,

        Thanks so much for that! Good!

        I get to see the rest of this match. Hoping for Sascha to win. I would like to see him play Fed. They will replay Fed’s match later and I will make sure to watch it.

  8. I hope to a replaty of Fed so that I can see h for myself and make up my mind as to where he’s at. Although I still think that a player’s level is not always an indication of how he will play when a slam starts.

    That’s why I have not written off Murray and am not giving Fed the trophy yet.

          • Losing to Federer and Nole both in straight sets though.

            Nor did he beat anyone that great on the way there either in 2007 or 2015 to get there.

            • Does it matter who he beat to get there? I think he beat Stan in 2015 before losing to Djoko in the SF. Who did Rafa beat in 2008 Wimbledon before getting to the final?

            • Stan is basically allergic to grass.

              I looked at both gaskets draws where he made semis.

              So we should also do the same for Rafa instead of cherry picking a single year that could be the exception to fit a narrative.

              Rafa won two Wimby titles and made five finals having many great wins against great players along the way – Federer, Djokovic and Murray to name a few.

            • And yeah it matters to me who one plays to get to later rounds of slams.

              To think otherwise supports the notion that the weak era didn’t boost Federer’s Slam count.

            • Hawkeye, Gasquet losing to Fed at Wimbledon in 2007, and to Djoko in 2015, was nothing shameful, when in both years, they who beat Gasquet in the SF, went on to win the title, and both finished the season as the dominant player.

              No one is saying that Gasquet is so unbeatable on grass that he could make two SFs at Wimbledon, it’s just that Gasquet could play well on grass sometimes, and beat players not named Fed, Djoko, Murray and Rafa.

            • I hear you Lucky. Yeah I know he can.

              Just glad we don’t have that match up again tomorrow.

              Zverev should be more entertaining.

              A win by fed over gasket tomorrow wouldn’t say much IMO.

              Whereas tomorrow’s final will be old guard vs next gen, fed trying to break a two match winning streak including last year vs Sascha getting three in a row and would be a statement win for him heading into Wimby. Plus the home advantage for both players lol.

          • Lucky,

            I had totally forgotten about that. Thanks for the reminder! He’s brining it today.

            But Sascha gets the break!

        • They are showing a double screen because Dimi and F-Lo have just started their match at Queens.

  9. He made it! Yay Sascha. Another Halle final. How can he do it after all these three set matches. Very good matches and experiences for him though – both RBA and Gasquet.

    • I think Sascha was just feeling it playing in front of his countrymen. That may have powered him through those tough three set matches.

      He seems to be really motivated here. They got the final they wanted! The young up and comer against the great one!

  10. Good win for Fed over a tough opponent who hits the cover off the ball. With a bit more consistency Khachanov could certainly cause problems for anyone; he played better against Rublev, but one would expect that.

    To me, Roger looks like he’s rushing a bit. He sometimes has that slightly irritated look, like he wants to get off the court fast, especially against lesser known opponents at smaller tournaments. I think we’ll see him with more focus in the final and at Wimby.

  11. They are showing the replay of Fed’s match now on the tennis channel.

    I am interested in this guy Khachanov. I have been hearing about him and now have a chance to see him in action. The guy’s got game.

    It’s hard for me to gauge the state of Fed’s game. He’s doing what he needs to do here so far. I don’t think he’s hitting hhs backhand as well as he was earlier this year.

    • Nny,

      The next time they play, Khachanov will beat him (Fed) — that’s my guess 😀
      Karen was too nervous. He can play better than that – maybe not on grass though.

      You see those Spanish coaches in his box planning and scheming. They are doing a good job with Khachanov and especially Rublev who at 19, is finally into the top 100… he’s at 91 after his run to the QF in Halle.

      Watch this part when Federer has broken Karen and tries to serve for the match. It’s not pretty. They end up in a TB. Federer has been terrible at converting break chances — his backhand return isn’t good. He’s in the net, he’s spraying it all over…all sorts of misses lol Rafa fans would not like Rafa playing like this close to a GS!

      • RC, I do think Karen looked nervous and can definitely play better. Rublev is really good, too. Roger was obviously not at his best, but Khachanov’s power had something to do with that. He was really teeing off on some of Fed’s 2nd serves, which was rattling Roger late in the match.

        • Yeah, it’s true. And Khachanov is going to be thinking about that set point he had, dang it. If this match had gone to three…we may have had a NextGen final 😉

          The Khachanov v Rublev QF was fun to watch…that’s my opinion, anywey. Only the RBA v Sascha QF was as good.

      • Rafa is not fed rc.

        They both take very different paths even though they usually end up on the same spot more often than not.

        • Do you really think I am that stupid, Hawk? I can’t tell the difference between Rafa and Fed. That I’m not aware of their different preparations for lead up to a GS. That’s not what my post is about! Fed and Rafa are completely different animals –

          It’s one sentence at the end of my post about fans. It feels like you are jumping on me for sport right now.

          • I sincerely apologize rc.

            I should have said nothing or just made a comment that Rafa takes much longer usually to find his form than Federer does.

            TBH though, I would have loved to see Rafa playing that level on grass today that Federer showed to come through against a tough agressive young opponent with nothing to lose.

            Clearly I am rubbing everyone the wrong way and I need some time to self reflect.

            Sorry to every good poster here, nny, rc, and Lucky to name a few.

            • I don’t like to get in discussions about Rafa and Fed. But NOW you make a good point, dear Hawks. If Novak would have beat Khachanov in 2 sets even with almost blowing it, I would be relieved!!!

      • rc,

        Yes, when Fed tried to close it out Khachanov broke him. The tennis channel commies thought Fed was but at his best, making some uncharacteristic errors. He drrm d nervous and uncomfortable because Khachanov was blasting winners all over the place. Khachanov even had set points, but couldn’t get it done. He had the right idea.

        I think Fed was kind of lucky to get out of there with a straight set win. Khachanov played well and fought to stay in the match. I was impressed.

          • Nny,

            Thanks to my DVR, I’ve watched every Federer match this week. He’s scraping by. But I guess scraping by is better than nothing. Pretty soon Novak will be playing a match in Eastbourne. But Novak is not back. I’m not going to dwell on it — or have expectations.

            Rublev could be better than Khachanov — a couple years from now. Not more powerful but he’s probably Andy Murray’s height and he can fly around the court. Also has a better running forehand. Hope he makes it through the Wimbledon qualifying draw. There’s a lot of competition in that draw.

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