Federer one win away from becoming oldest number one

Federer one win away from becoming oldest number one

One of the greatest ever late-career runs by any sportsman or woman means he surpasses Andre Agassi who was the previous oldest man to top the ATP rankings.

Federer cruised 6-1, 6-4, 6-4 in a 2012 clay-court Davis Cup tie in the Netherlands and he also got the job done 6-3, 7-6 (5) in the Montreal semifinals last summer.

First round: Roger Federer bt Ruben Bemelmans 6-1, 6-2.

"Tonight was complicated, I had to fight and struggle", he said.

The 20-time Grand Slam champion will lock horns with Philipp Kohlschreiber.

He already holds the record for most weeks spent at No.1, having topped the rankings for a combined 302 weeks. I wanted to make him think he had to do something special to beat me.

Second seed Dimitrov, who beat Belgian fourth seed Goffin in the London final in November past year, had to fight back in the second set to defeat Japan's Yuichi Sugita 6-4, 7-6 (7/5) in their first-round encounter.

Dimitrov won the opening set against Sugita, but fell behind a break in the second before leveling for 5-5. "I couldn't find my range or rhythm".

"I was preparing for the second set, being down one set", he said.

At the end of a hard-fought battle, Federer extended his ideal record over Kohlschreiber to 13-0, the 36-year-old chasing a third title at this ATP 500 event following successes in 2005 and 2012. "I played well in the first set by winning the most important points. It's a bad feeling, but when you do come back and snatch the set, it's such a key moment in the match and I was able to utilize that".

The Bulgarian will face Andrey Rublev on Friday after the 20-year-old Russian struggled for almost two hours before finally seeing off Damir Dzumhur 6-4, 7-6 (7/4).

The victor of their tie will meet either Andreas Seppi or Daniil Medvedev, while Tomas Berdych, David Goffin, Andrey Rublev and Grigor Dimitrov occupy the other half of the draw.

Federer will face either Italian Andrea Seppi or young Russian Daniil Medvedev in the semi-final as he closes in on a 97th career title.