Federer punches ticket to Montreal semis

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Swiss star Roger Federer outclassed Roberto Bautista Agut as he inched closer to his sixth title of the season with a 6-4, 6-4 win in the quarterfinals of the Montreal Masters tennis tournament here Friday.

By clinching his seventh straight win over the Spaniard in the men's singles event, Federer leads the ATP this season with five titles, including two grand slams, and improved his 2017 record to 34-2.

Federer, the second seed and 2004, 2006 champion in Toronto, will now cross swords with Dutchman Robin Haase for a place in finals.

Holland's world number 52 Haase fought back after losing the first set against Argentina's Diego Schwartzman to win 4-6, 6-3, 6-3.

The two southpaws were on serve in the second when play halted 20 minutes for a light rain but, when it resumed, the crowd sprang to life, chanting "let's go Denis" on the changeovers as he broke serve and then served out the set.

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Meanwhile, Katarina Johnson-Thompson and Morgan Lake finished fifth and sixth respectively in the women's high jump. Chelimo fell with four laps to go on the wet track in Wednesday's semifinals but came back and qualified.

The 36-year-old Federer blasted nine aces and lost just nine points on his serve as he extended his match win streak to 16 - his longest win streak in five years. "It's tough to come back and play that same level". I've been able to keep points short. "But, as I have practiced with him quite a bit, maybe I am better prepared than if I would have never hit with him before". I was insecure. I had a lot of problems with other injuries after.

In Sunday's final, the Swiss veteran will face the victor of the second semifinal between 18-year-old Denis Shapovalov of Richmond Hill, Ont., and 20-year-old Alexander Zverev of Germany. I started to believe more and more again.

He also halted Nadal's bid to regain the No. 1 ranking, which the Spaniard could have achieved by reaching the semifinals.

Federer said he knows Haase well from serving with him on the ATP player council and from practicing together.

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