Hamburg: Top-seeded Roger Federer was taken to the limit on Friday before coming through for a 7-6 (4), 3-6, 7-5 victory over Florian Mayer and a place in the semifinals of the German Tennis Championships.
Federer is playing his first tournament since losing in the second round of Wimbledon.
A four-time champion on the clay courts of Hamburg, Federer needed two hours to overcome Mayer. Federer was down 5-1 in the second set, won the next two games but then faltered again. He double-faulted and then produced two straight forehand errors to give up the set.
In the third, Federer broke serve twice, only to see the German re-break both times. But with the match on the line, the Swiss former No. 1 raised his game considerably. He broke serve with the loss of a point for a 6-5 lead and served out the match at love, hitting a service winner on match point.
He next plays Argentine qualifier Federico Delbonis, who upset 14th-seeded Fernando Verdasco of Spain 6-7 (5), 7-6 (8), 6-4 to make the semifinals of a tournament for the second time in his career.