Mercedes Cup 2018: Milos Raonic defeats Lucas Pouille to reach final

Roger Federer Nick Kyrgios

Roger Federer defeated Milos Raonic 6-4, 7-6 (7-3) to mark his return from three months off with the Stuttgart Open title on Sunday.

A chunk of fans expected a Kyrgios victory seeing that Federer looked rusty in his first two victories since his return to the sport in almost three months.

Kyrgios won their first clash in Madrid back in 2015, 6-7 (2-7), 7-6 (7-5), 7-6 (12-10) but Federer hit back to take the victory in Miami past year, 7-6 (9-7), 6-7 (9-11), 7-6 (7-5).

A phenomenal backhand return to Raonic's serve secured an early advantage for Federer and, although the Canadian battled to prevent a second, a solitary break was enough to seal the first set.

A match played in good spirits, with Kyrgios's respect for Federer showing in everything he did. He has not won a title since the 2016 Brisbane International.

In the second set though, Raonic and Pouille remained strong on serve, all the way into a second-set tiebreak (Raonic has yet to have his serve broken in this tournament).

"I'm happy I have a chance to come back and play some more good tennis". Third seed Thiem, who lost to Nadal a week ago in the French Open final, begins with a match against a qualifier. "And I've got another final, so it's great news".

The veteran Swiss also returns to Number One in the World Rankings and spoke with the media after the match.

The Canadian saved the lone break point he faced while breaking Pouille twice.

"We'll see how I play next week".

Going into Sunday's final, Federer has a 10-3 winning record against Raonic, 27, and Federer triumphed in their last meeting at the quarter-final stage of last year's Wimbledon. "It's been hard the last few years but everything went in my favour, I won four matches and played really well today". He actually gave Roger Federer a friendly tap on his butt as he exited the court. Federer then chose to take the rest of the year off to return to full health.

Federer started off his tennis season on a winning note by bagging the Australian Open title and now he will be looking forward to putting his hands on Wimbledon trophy for the ninth time in his career.

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