STUTTGART, Germany (AP) Roger Federer defeated Guido Pella 6-4, 6-4 on Friday to advance to the Stuttgart Open semifinals.
Federer was too good for his opponent even though the 75th-ranked Argentine produced one of his best matches on grass.
With the Swiss great serving for the match, Pella forced two break points for some late drama. But Federer answered with four points in a row to set up a meeting with Nick Kyrgios.
“I didn’t give Guido many chances to get into my service games, except maybe the last couple,” Federer said after only his second match since March 24. “I was happy that I also got more rhythm today.”
The fourth-seeded Kyrgios defeated Feliciano Lopez 6-4, 3-6, 6-3.
Federer can reclaim the No. 1 ranking from Rafael Nadal with a win on Saturday.
“In the match that you play for world No. 1, it’s clearly going to be in the back of your head,” he said.
Defending champion Lucas Pouille will face Milos Raonic in the other semifinal.
Pouille defeated Denis Istomin of Uzbekistan 6-4, 6-7 (5), 6-3, and Raonic upset the third-seeded Tomas Berdych 7-6 (2), 7-6 (1).
PARMA, Italy — Top-seeded Maria Sakkari rallied past Arantxa Rus 3-6, 6-2, 6-3 to reach the quarterfinals of the Parma Ladies Open.
Sakkari, who accepted a late wild card to the red clay court tournament, was playing her first event since losing to Wang Xiyu in the second round of the U.S. Open.
The Greek player will next face Maryna Zanevska of Belgium after she eased past Dalma Galfi 6-1, 6-3.
Fourth-seeded Sloane Stephens of the United States, the 2017 U.S. Open champion, lost to Danka Kovinic 7-5, 2-6, 7-5.
Kovinic will face Jasmine Paolini in the quarterfinals after the Italian defeated compatriot Elisabetta Cocciaretto 4-6, 6-3, 6-4.
There will be an American in the final eight, however, as Lauren Davis rallied to beat Sara Sorribes Tormo 3-6, 6-4, 7-5. Sorribes Tormo had eliminated second-seeded Martina Trevisan in straight sets in the opening round.
Davis will play Mayar Sherif after the Egyptian player defeated Simona Waltert 6-3, 7-6 (1).
Also, third-seeded Irina-Camelia Begu of Romania eased past Italian wild card Matilde Paoletti 6-4, 6-4 to set up a quarterfinal against sixth-seeded Ana Bogdan, who beat Anna Karolina Schmiedlova 6-2, 3-6, 6-3.
PARMA, Italy — Sara Sorribes Tormo beat second-seeded Martina Trevisan 7-5, 6-0 in the opening round of the Parma Ladies Open – marking the third consecutive first-round loss for this year’s French Open semifinalist.
Third-seeded Irina-Camelia Begu advanced when Viktoriya Tomova retired with Begu leading 7-5, 5-1.
Danka Kovinic beat Oceane Dodin 6-1, 3-6, 6-4 and will next face 2017 U.S. Open champion Sloane Stephens.
Also on the red clay courts, Mayar Sherif of Egypt eliminated fifth-seeded Anna Bondar 7-5, 6-4; Elisabetta Cocciaretto defeated seventh-seeded Nuria Parrizas Diaz 7-5, 6-1; and Italian wild card Matilde Paoletti earned her first tour-level win by beating Romanian qualifier Gabriela Lee 6-4, 3-6, 6-0.