Federer to face Nadal in Hamburg final
Holder and top seed Roger Federer eased past unseeded Italian Andreas Seppi 6-3 6-1 in the Hamburg Masters on Saturday to set up a final with Spain's Rafael Nadal for the second year in a row.
Nadal, the number two seed, won a magnificent three-hour, semifinal battle with Novak Djokovic, beating the fast-rising Serb 7-5 2-6 6-2.
Djokovic has won the Australian Open and two Masters Series already this year and would have taken over Nadal's number two world ranking if he had beaten the French Open champion.
With the retractable roof at the Rothenbaum closed to keep out the rain, there was an extra buzz around the centre court and Nadal and Djokovic wowed the crowd with some awesome rallies.
The fist-pumping Mallorcan, seemingly able to chase down almost anything Djokovic threw at him, saved 15 of 19 break points against him and broke serve in the first and seventh games of the deciding set.
He sealed victory on his fifth match point when Djokovic netted an attempted drop shot at the end of an incredible final game lasting more than 15 minutes.
"It was an amazing match," Nadal told a news conference. "I am a little bit tired right now so let's see how I feel tomororow."
Hamburg is the only Masters Series title on clay that eludes Nadal and he said the slower court here took some of the sting out of his booming top-spin drives.
"I'll need to be 100% if I want to have a chance of beating Roger," he added.