June 15, 2018 / 3:48 PM / in 5 months

Federer inches closer to top spot after strolling into Stuttgart semis

FILE PHOTO: ATP World Tour Finals - The O2 Arena, London, Britain - November 18, 2017 Switzerland's Roger Federer in action during his semi final match against Belgium's David Goffin REUTERS/Toby Melville

(Reuters) - Roger Federer is one win away from reclaiming the world number one ranking after he reached the semi-finals of the Stuttgart Open with a 6-4 6-4 victory over Argentina’s Guido Pella on Friday.

Federer skipped the European claycourt season to concentrate on retaining his Wimbledon title next month and his plan appears to be working as the 36-year-old was in fine form on Friday.

The Swiss is 100 points behind world number one Rafael Nadal and will replace the Spaniard atop the rankings if he reaches Sunday’s final.

Federer, who has won a record eight Wimbledon titles, was largely untroubled by Pella and lost just one point on serve en route to winning the opening set. He continued his momentum to clinch the victory in 65 minutes.

The 20-times Grand Slam winner will face fourth-seed Nick Kyrgios in Saturday’s semi-finals after the Australian earned a hard-fought 6-4 3-6 6-3 win over Spaniard Feliciano Lopez.

Meanwhile, Canadian Milos Raonic battled to a 7-6(2) 7-6(1) victory against third seed Tomas Berdych, of Czech Republic, to set up a last four encounter against defending champion Lucas Pouille after the Frenchman ousted Denis Istomin 6-4 6-7(5) 6-3.

Reporting by Aditi Prakash in Bengaluru, editing by Pritha Sarkar

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