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Federer into Halle final with Borg in his sights

Written by: Staff
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BERLIN, June 17 (Reuters) Wimbledon champion Roger Federer reached the Halle International final by beating Tommy Haas 6-4 6-7 6-3 today to move within one win of equalling Bjorn Borg's record for consecutive victories on grass.

In tomorrow's final the Swiss will play fifth seed Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic, who beat eighth-seeded Kristof Vliegen of Belgium 6-3 6-2 to reach his first final of the year.

Sweden's Borg, five times Wimbledon champion, set the open era record for consecutive wins on grass -- 41 -- from 1976 to 1981.

Top seed Federer, three times champion in Halle, has this week been suffering the fallout from his defeat by Rafael Nadal in Sunday's French Open final and he was again less than convincing against the sixth seed from Germany.

The triple Wimbledon champion saved a set point at 6-5 in the second set before losing the tiebreak 7-4.

Federer broke early in the final set to build up a 3-0 lead. Haas had a chance to break back when Federer was serving for the match but the champion saved the break point before clinching victory in two hours 16 minutes.

''Tommy took me to the limit,'' Federer told reporters. ''At the key moments I had to play my best tennis to beat him.'' Wimbledon fortnight starts on June 26.

REUTERS PDS PM2117

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