In today’s final, the 36-year-old Federer will win his 97th career title if he beats Grigor Dimitrov, dubbed “Baby Fed” early in his career for his style similarities with the Swiss great.
Federer leads their match-ups 6-0.
“We have a similar style of play. The more aggressive player, the more steady server is going to ... have the upper hand tomorrow,” Federer said. The Swiss great will become the oldest person to hold the No.1 position when the rankings are updated on Monday. It’s been more than five years since Federer was last world No.1, and 14 years since he first reached the top spot.
The two-time Rotterdam champion started slowly against Seppi but won the last four games of the first set to win it 6-3. The second set went with serve all the way to the tiebreak, which Federer easily won.
Federer said he was more relaxed yesterday after achieving his goal of returning to world No. 1.
“Maybe the pressure being gone helped me a little bit,” he said.
Fifth-ranked Dimitrov advanced to the final when his semi-final opponent, David Goffin, retired after being hit in the left eye by a ball.
Goffin was attempting to reach a powerful forehand by Dimitrov when the ball deflected off the Belgian’s racket frame and into his eye. Dimitrov immediately ran around the net to check on Goffin.
The Belgian left the court for treatment and did not return, handing victory to Dimitrov, who was trailing 1-0 in the second set after winning a close first set 6-3.
In Qatar, Petra Kvitova stretched her winning run to 12 games after she booked her place in the final of the Doha Open.
The Czech, who is eyeing a return to the top 10, downed world No.1 and Australian Open champion Caroline Wozniacki 3-6, 7-6 (7/3), 7-5 in a thrilling semi-final.
Wozniacki will be ruing defeat having twice served for the match in the second set, but Kvitova’s resilience shone through and she is now one win away from a second successive title after her success in St Petersburg a fortnight ago.
Kvitova, who is now enjoying the longest winning streak of her career, will meet Spaniard Garbine Muguruza in the final.
Muguruza had the day off as she received a walkover in the semi-final following the withdrawal of Simona Halep due to a foot injury. It will be both women’s first final in Qatar.