Toronto: Roger Federer celebrated his 33rd birthday with a 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 win over Spaniard David Ferrer on Friday to move into the semi-finals of the Rogers Cup and a step closer to a landmark 80th career title.
Federer will next face another Spaniard, Feliciano Lopez, who ended the last hope for a homegrown winner in sixth seed Milos Raonic 6-4, 6-7 (5), 6-3.
The other semi-final will see rising star Grigor Dimitrov take on Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who has reached the last four by knocking off world No. 1 Novak Djokovic and twice-champion and eighth seed Andy Murray in Friday’s quarter final.
There was little concern the fifth seed might spoil the party as the capacity crowd serenaded 17-time Grand Slam winner Federer with a chorus of “Happy Birthday” between games during the second set.
But there would be no gifts from Ferrer, who made Federer work a little longer and little harder than he wanted.
“It’s a dream come true to still be playing tennis at this age,” Federer told the cheering crowd. “I love tennis but it is a whole lot more fun when you do win and play against guys like David who leave it all out there.
“Stay injury free and go out on my terms, maybe try and win tournaments, I have two this year and hopefully we will have a few more. It starts here tomorrow again on the court.”
A confident Tsonga heads into the semi-finals having already taken out Djokovic and Murray, who between them had won five of the last seven Canadian hard-court titles.
After ending an 11-match losing run against Djokovic in the third round, Tsonga brought another barren stretch to an end against Murray with a 7-6 (5), 4-6, 6-4 win.
The Scotsman had dominated their head-to-head encounters, winning nine of 10 contests, with the Frenchman’s only victory in that stretch coming in 2008 at the Australian Open. (Reuters)