AMSTERDAM, NNC - Roger Federer is just one victory away from being the longest reigning number one tennis player in ATP Tour history after conquering Philipp Kohlschreiber 7-6 (8), 7-5 in Rotterdam Open’s Top 16 on Thursday (2/15/2018) .
The 36-year-old must at least break the semi-finals to topple Rafael Nadal at the top of the list and regain the top spot in the world ranking list for the first time since November 2012.
Kohlschreiber, 34, never lost to Federer in 12 meetings but his service game proved to be troubling the Swiss player, forcing the first set to be played until tiebreak.
The German even got two sets of points but was unable to convert as Federer rode on and made a perfect forehand punch to cross Kohlschreiber, and pull himself forward in the 54th minute.
The second set was followed by a similar pattern but Kohlschreiber, who ranks 36 in the world, was able to handle Federer's serve and improve his returns.
He was still able to save four break points but still unable to threaten the Australian Open champion.
Kohlschreiber finally succumbed in the 11th game when Federer outperformed his opponent's power and drove comfortably to win the set.
If he was to be successful in being the first in the world rankings, Federer will surpass American athlete Andre Agassi as the world's longest ranking player. The 20-times Grand Slam champion will also record the longest pause (five years and 106 days) as the world’s number one.
Federer had previously held the record for the most weeks as the number one player, having occupied the position for a total of 302 weeks.