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Roger Federer says he hopes to play for three or four more years

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PERTH, Australia — Roger Federer says he hopes to play for at least another three or four years and that his “mind-set is for the long-term” in assessing his tennis future.

Federer, who has not played since re-injuring his surgically repaired left knee at Wimbledon in July, will make his tournament return in the Jan. 1-7 Hopman Cup team event at Perth, representing Switzerland with Belinda Bencic.

The 35-year-old Federer said Friday he’s not sure of the form he’ll produce upon his return, but that retirement isn’t part of his thought process.

“Only when I get asked do I think of things like this,” said Federer, who has 17 Grand Slam singles titles, the most of any male player.

“I don’t see it like this, that this could be my last Australian trip, even though it might very well be,” he added. “I’m really positive. I took these six months off so I would be playing for hopefully another two to three years, not just another six months or so. So my mindset is for the long-term.”

Federer hasn’t won a Grand Slam singles title since Wimbledon in 2012, and with his injury, has slipped to No. 16 in the world rankings.

“Winning titles is a beautiful feeling, rankings at the moments … completely secondary,” Federer said Friday. “As long as I’m healthy and injury free I think I can really do some damage.”

Federer and Bencic begin play against Britain, represented by Heather Wilson and Dan Evans, on Monday night at Perth Arena.

Defending champions Australia, represented by Daria Gavrilova and Nick Kyrgios, begin play Sunday night against Spain.

Americans Coco Vandeweghe and Jack Sock take on Czech Republic’s Lucie Hradecka and Adam Pavlasek earlier Sunday in the men’s singles, women’s singles and mixed doubles format.

Federer again pushed hard, advances to Halle semifinals

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HALLE, Germany (AP) Defending champion Roger Federer defeated Matthew Ebden 7-6 (2), 7-5 to reach the semifinals of the grass-court Gerry Weber Open on Friday.

Federer was made to work hard by Ebden, who saved five of the eight break points he faced and was leading 5-3 in the second set.

Federer, who saved two match points against Benoit Paire in the second round the day before, recovered to go 6-5 up and then broke Ebden to take his first match point for a meeting with American qualifier Denis Kudla.

Kudla earlier defeated Japan’s Yuichi Sugita 6-2, 7-5 to book his semifinal place.

Federer, who won his 18th grass-court title in Stuttgart on Sunday, is just three match wins away from matching Jimmy Connors’ all-time record of 174 victories on grass.

Federer extended his grass-court winning streak to 19 including the Stuttgart title and last year’s titles in Halle and Wimbledon. He is bidding for a record-extending 10th trophy in Halle.

Federer survives scare to advance in Halle

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HALLE, Germany (AP) Defending champion Roger Federer survived two match points against Benoit Paire to reach the quarterfinals of the Gerry Weber Open with a 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (7) win on Thursday.

Paire rallied after losing the first set to take the second, and the Frenchman defended two match points at 6-5 in the decider to force a tiebreaker. Eight minutes later, it was a match point for the 48th-ranked Paire, and again when a mistake from Federer left it 7-6 in Paire’s favor.

But the top-ranked Swiss took the next three points to close the match in just under two hours at the grass-court tournament.

Federer extended his grass-court winning streak to 18 matches, including his titles in Stuttgart last week and at Halle and Wimbledon last year.

Federer skipped the entire clay-court season for the second year in a row and is now just four wins away from matching Jimmy Connors’ all-time record of 174 victories on grass.

Federer next faces Matthew Ebden of Australia, who upset former champion Philipp Kohlschreiber 4-6, 6-1, 6-2.

Also Thursday, Borna Coric defeated Nikoloz Basilashvili 6-4, 6-2.

The Croat next faces either Florian Mayer or Andreas Seppi.