Roger Federer continued his longest winning streak in five years by reaching the Rogers Cup final. The second-seeded Federer used a 6-3, 7-6 (5) victory over unseeded Robin Haase of the Netherlands on Saturday to reach his sixth final of the year and win his 16th consecutive match.
He had considering skipping the event, which would have been disastrous for the promoters with world No. 1 Andy Murray as well as Novak Djokovic and Stan Wawrinka already out with injuries. But Federer decided to play and now has a chance to add to a tally that includes Australian Open and Wimbledon titles this year.
"I'm very happy that I've made it here," he said. "It was a good decision for me. If I would have known I would have gone to the finals, I would have said 'yes' right away. Sometimes you've just got to wait and see how you feel. I'm most happy that I'm actually really healthy going into the finals. I haven't wasted too much energy. I've been able to keep points short. I've been really clean at net. I think my concentration and just my playing has gone up a notch. I'm just playing better."
Federer is looking for a third Rogers Cup title, but his first in Montreal, having won in 2004 and 2006 in Toronto. A victory would give Federer, currently ranked third in the world, one of the top two seeds at the U.S. Open beginning Aug. 28 in New York.
The 36-year-old Federer has his longest winning streak since 2012. Next up is 20-year-old Alexander Zverev, who stopped Denis Shapovalov's impressive run with a 6-4, 7-5 victory in the second semifinal.
Federer has won of their three meetings, including a victory over the German on grass in June.
Shapovalov's tournament included consecutive wins over 2009 U.S. Open champion Juan Martin del Potro and top-seeded Spanish star Rafael Nadal. The victories, and the shaggy-haired youngster's style and skill on the court, announced his presence not only to Canadian fans but to the tennis world.
"My whole life has changed in the past five days," he said. "It's crazy how it is.
"I mean, I go from being not known to being so known in the tennis world, in Canada in general. It's going to be a little bit of a change to me. I'm going to have to adapt. But that doesn't change things. I still have to work really hard every day."
Flag-waving fans in the packed grandstands at Uniprix Stadium were hoping for more magic, but Zverev was too strong, winning 81 percent of the points off his serve compared to 64 percent for Shapovalov.
Haase, who upset seventh-seeded Grigor Dimitrov in the third round, was in his first career semifinal of a Masters Series tournament.
"I hope it gives me a lot of confidence," Haase said of his performance for the week. "Next week (in Cincinnati), different conditions, different courts, so it's tournament by tournament. But, in general, to make an achievement like this is good because it shows you can do it."