Federer tops Falla for seventh Gerry Weber Open title
HALLE, Germany (AP) -- Roger Federer delivered a statement of intent for Wimbledon on Sunday by winning the grass-court Gerry Weber Open for the seventh time.
Federer fired five aces and saved three of the five break points he faced to defeat Alejandro Falla 7-6 (2), 7-6 (3) in the final. It was the 14th title on grass and 79th overall for the 32-year-old Swiss.
The seven-time Wimbledon champion improved his record to 46-5 in 12 appearances at the tournament where he made his debut 14 years ago.
''I've left a little bit of my heart here,'' Federer said after his ninth Halle final. ''I'm very pleased now to go to Wimbledon.''
Federer broke to go 5-3 up in the first set, only for Falla to respond with a break and take it to the tiebreaker.
Federer then started the second set with a break, but a forehand error allowed Falla to respond with a break in the next set. Both held serve to set up the second tiebreaker, where Federer's experience saw him through.
''To win in a tiebreak is always a bit special; the euphoria, the emotion comes out,'' Federer said. ''I was able to deal with Falla's strengths in the final and also (Kei) Nishikori's in the semifinal. They were my second and third games on grass and I'm very satisfied with the level I could reach.''
It was Federer's seventh win from seven meetings with Falla.
''He's the king of kings of tiebreaks,'' said Falla, who defeated 2011 champion Philipp Kohlschreiber in the semifinals. ''Overall I played very well throughout the whole week and I want to keep it up.''
The 69th-ranked Falla was the first Colombian to reach the final of a grass-court tournament. He was playing his second on tour after he finished runner-up to Ivo Karlovic at Bogota in 2013.
Top-seeded Rafael Nadal was knocked out in the second round by the 85th-ranked German wild card Dustin Brown, who became the lowest ranked player to defeat a world No. 1 since No. 98 Mardy Fish upset Federer at Indian Wells in 2008.
''He's the world No. 1. He's dug himself out of deeper holes before,'' Federer said of Nadal before looking ahead to Wimbledon.
''I think the favorites are the same, regardless of what's happened in the last years, the last weeks. It all starts at zero,'' Federer said.
''I had my own problems last year when I lost early in Wimbledon and I don't want that to happen to me again. I'm concentrating on that.''
Federer and compatriot Marco Chiudinelli were defeated 1-6, 7-5, 12-10 by Andre Begemann of Germany and Julian Knowle of Austria in the doubles final later Sunday.
Federer had been hoping to repeat his feats from Halle in 2005 and Vienna in 2003 of winning singles and doubles in the same tournament.