World number five Roger Federer clinched a record ninth Halle Open title on Sunday, crushing last year’s finalist Alexander Zverev 6-1 6-3 to lay down a marker in the lead-up to Wimbledon.
The 18-times grand slam champion, who skipped the clay court season after winning the Australian Open and titles in Indian Wells and Miami, to prepare for the grass, is in ominous form and won in Halle without dropping a single set all week.
The 35-year-old, defeated in his first comeback match in Stuttgart last week, was aggressive from the start, breaking in the first game to take control. Federer kept world number 12 Zverev on his toes and earned a second break point with some deft volleying, which he pounced on to race through the first set in 24 minutes.
Zverev, who beat the Swiss in last year’s semi-final, had a chance to break at the start of the second set. Federer, however, was a class above even as his opponent attempted to mix up his game by forcing the Swiss to come to the net more often.
A dropshot put Federer 5-2 ahead and he sealed victory two games later on his first match point with a cross-court volley.